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THE LUCK 

Of the zM^ounted 



•r THE SAME AUTHOR I 

BENTON 

Of the lioyal .Jttounted 

A TALE OF 

THE ROYAL NORTHWEST 

MOUNTED POLICE 

"A genuine classic of the great 
Northwest." - New Ymk Tribune. I 



THE LUCK 

Of the <J}(Counted 

A TALE OF THE ROYAL 
NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE 



BY 



Sergeant RALPH S. KENDALL 

EX-MEMBER OF THE R. N. W. M. P. 



This truest of stories confirms beyond doubt 
That truest of adages— " Murder will out ! " 
In vain may the blood-spitler "double" and fly. 
In vain even wiuhcraft and sorcery try: 
Jlthougbfor a time he may 'scape, byand-by 
He'll be sure to be caught by a Hue and a Cry ! 

THE INGOIDSBY LEGENDS 



TORONTO: S. B. GUNDY 

NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY 

MCMXX 



fii-: 






^i X > 



COPYRIOHT-IgSO 
BV JOHN LANE COMPANY 



THIPtmpTOKpiEs 

noiwooo-mss-o.s., 



«»4lli*40 



ro 

MY OLD COMRADES 

PRESENT, AND EX-MEMBERS OF THE 

R.N.W.M. POLICE 

THIS WORK IS DEDICATED 
WITH EVERY KIND THOUGHT 



THE LUCK 

Of the <jKCounted 



THE 
LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 



CHAPTER I 

O sing m a song of days that are gone — 
Of men and happenings — oj war and peace; 
We loie to yam of "th" times that waj" 
As our hair grows gray, and our years increase. 
So — revert we again to our ancient lays — 
Fill we our pipes, and our glasses raise — 
"Salutel to those stirring, bygone days!" 
Cry the old non-coms of the Mounted Police 



MEMOrcIES 



ALL day long the blizzard had raged, in one con- 
tinuous squaUing moaning roar — the fine-spun 
snow swirling and drifting about the barrack- 
buildings and grounds of the old Mounted Police 
Post of L. Division. Whirrarul-eel -thrumm-mm! 
hummed the biting nor'easter through the cross-tree 
rigging of the towering flag-pole in the centre of the 
wind-swept square, while the, slapping flag-halyards 
kept up an infernal "devil's tattoo." With snow- 
bound roof from which hung huge icicles, like walrus- 
tjsks, the big main building loomed up, ghostly and 



y 



xo THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
indistinct, amidst tJie whirling, white-wreathpH ,. 
save where, from the lighted windol Cd sTjl ' 
of radiance stabbed the surrounding gC rlfT 
- <|.ving snow-spume li. dust^r^a^T^J 

night in South Alberta ""' ^"'""'y 

bWd,pad^^:trlr^m::::L:^r« 

the pathway leading t. the Ln bu^'r^J"^ ?'' 
7 ''^ destination, he dived hastily throug-^rrht 
storm-doors of the middle entrance w"r,. '^ 

and banged them to. ""° "^^ P^*^' 

Flanking him on either sidp in »,.i 
the bitter world outsid" te '.^^S 7/ 7^' "^ 
sight of two inviting p;rSs^l '^:/"-^^'»'«" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED „ 
reason best known to himself, he steadily ignored both, 
for the time being, and passing on began Swly to 
mount a short flight of stairs at the end of the passage 
Sweet music beguiled each reluctant step of his 
ascent: the tinkle of a :,iano accompaniment to a roar- 
ing jovial chorus frc „ the canteen assuring him with 
plaintiv;, but futile insistence just tiien, tiiat- 

Beer, beerl vias ilorious beer, etc. 

Reaching tiie landing he paused for a space in an 
intent listening attitude outside ti,e closed door of a 
room marked No. 3 From witiiin came the sounds of 
men's voices raised in a high-pitched, gabbling alterca- 
tion. 

Turning swifUy to an imaginary audience, his ex- 
pressive young comitenance contorted into a grimace of 
unholy glee, the listener flung aloft his arms and 
bhtiiely executed a few noiseless steps of an impromptu 
war-dance. 

"They're at it againl" he muttered ecstatically 
Some seconds he capered tiius in pantomime; tiien, 
as swiftiy composing his features into a mask-like ex- 
pression, he turned tiie handle and entered. On the 
big thermometer nailed outside the Orderly-room die 



n 



" THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

aTZT.'"' "'^'""' ""^""'"^ »>«'*"„ twenty 
and thirty below zero, but in.ide Barrack-room Not 
the temperature at that n,on,ent was warm en^^gh 

cenTrrH ""'*' '' "''" """ "' « '°»« ^We inTe 
centre of the room, busily engaged i„ cleaning thdr 
accoutrements, glanced up casually at his enlace 

irt T"'"« '"■'" ^ p^--p'ed sat :; 

^mble, they bent to their furbishing with the brisk 
conce„.ation pecliar to "Service men" the worid „ tr 

lashion, they kept alive the embers nf » t . 

xr^-r-- their res'^^rrvr^rr 
":^sr '"'''"•"' •""^^''■-- '•^■- -d 

Both were clad in brown duck "fatigue slacks » the 
Z L ""'''^ ^°^*^™« °f both men were 

=f„. 1. : ^ "^"' sirnilarly habited lav 

' "•*"' """"^K over on his sr'de, he re- 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED ,3 
lapsed once more into the arms of Morpheus — his 
nasal organ proclaiming that fact beyond doubt. 

The orderly aspect of the room bore mute evidence 
of regimenul discipline. The blankets — with the 
sheets placed in the centre -were strapped into a 
neat roll at the head of each tartan-rugged cot, at 
the foot of which lay a folded black oil-sheet. Ab^ve, 
on a small shelf, were the spare uniform and Stetson 
hat, flanked on either side by a pair of high brown 
-Strathcona" riding-boots, with straight-shanked 
"cavalry-jack" spurs attached. On pegs underneath 
hung ^le regulation side-arms, — a "Sam Browne" 
belt and holster containing the Colt's .45 Service re- 
iver. A rifle-rack at the end of the room contained 
i quota of Winchester carbines. 
The last arrival, whom the sleeper had designated 
"Redmond," proceeded to divest himself of his short 
fur coat and, after dashing the snow from it and his 
muskrat-faced cap, unbuckled his side-arms, and hung 
all up at the head of his own particular cot. 

Flashing across our retrospective mind-screens, as 
at times we dreamily delve into the past, beloved faces 
come and go. Forever in the memory of the writer, 
as his ideal conc^tion of healthy, virile splendid Youth 






14 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

personified, will stand the bronzed, debonair, clean- 
shaven young face of George Redmond - or "Reddy " 
as he was more familiarly dubbed by his comrades of 
L. Division. 

Handsome his countenance could not have been 
termed -the features were too strongly-marked and 
roughly-hewn. But it was an undeniably open, attrac 
tive and honest one - the sort of face that instinctively 
invited ,'s "Hail, fellow, well met!" trust at first 
sight. His hair was dark auburn in colour, short and 
wavy with a sort of golden tinge in it; his forehead 
was broad and open, and below it were two uncom- 
monly waggish blue eyes. His habitual expression was 
a mixture of nonchalant good humour and gay in- 
souciance, but the slightly aquiline, prominent nose 
and the set of the square aggressive jaw belied in a 
i-easure the humourous curl of the lips. 

Those who knew his disposition well were fully 
aware how swiftly the mocking smile could vanish from 
that indolent young face on occasion - how unpleas- . 
antly those wide blue orbs could contract beneath 
scowling brows into mere pin-points of steel and ice 
Slightly above middle height, well-set-up and strongly' 
though not heavily made, the lines of his clean-built 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 15 

figure suggested the embodiment of grace, strength 
and activity. 

He was dressed in the regulation winter uniform of 
the Force, consisting of a scarlet-serge tunic, dark- 
blue cord riding breeches with the broad yellow stripe 
down the side, thick black woollen stockings reaching 
to the knee, and buckskin moccasins with spurs 
attached. Over the stockings, and rolled tightly down 
upon the tops of the moccasins as snow-excluders, 
were a pair of heavy gray socks. 

Wriggling out of his tightly-fitting red serge he 
carelessly flung that arUcle onto the next cot; then, 
filling and lighting a pipe, he stretched out comfortably 
upon his own. With hands clasped behind his head he 
lazily watched the two previously-mentioned men at 
their cleaning operations, his expressive face registering 
indolent but mischievious interest, as he listened to 
their wrangling. 

"Nol" resumed one of the twain emphatically, apro- 
pos of some previous contention, "No, by gum! this 
division ain't what it used to be in them days." 

He gave vent to a reminiscent sigh as he spat upon 
and rubbed up some powdered brick-dust. 
"Billy Herchmer was O.C, Fred Bagley was Ser- 



*:' 



i6 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

geant-Major — and there was Hany Hetherington, 
Ralph Bell, De Barre, Jeb Stowne, Pennycuik, and aU 
them old-timers. Eyah! th' times that wasl th' times 
that wasl Force's aU filled up now mostly with 'Smart 
Aleck' kids, like Reddy, here, an' " -he shot a glance 
of calculating invitation at his vis-4-vis, Hardy — " 'old 
sweats' from the Old Country Imperials." 

Artfully to start some trivial but decidedly inflam- 
mable barrack-room argument was one of Corporal 
Dave McCullough's pet diversions. At this somewhat 
doubtful pastime he would ethibit a knowledge of 
human nature and an infinite patience worthy of a 
better object. From some occult reasoning of his 
Celtic soul the psychological moment he generally 
chose as being likely the most fruitful of results was 
eiflier a few minutes before, or after 'Xights Out." 

When the ensuing conflagration had blazed to the de- 
sired stage he would quietly extinguish his own vocal 
torch and lie back on his cot with a sort of "Mark 
Antony" "Now let it work!" chuckle. "Getting their 
goats" he termed it. Usually though, when the storm 
of bad language and boots had subsided, his dupes 
too, like those of "Silver Street" were wont to scratch 
their heads and commune one with another — 

— begod, 1 wondtr wkyt 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 17 
He was a heavy-shouldered man; middle-aged, with 
thick, crisp iron-gray hair and moustache and a pair 
of humourous brown eyes twinkling in a lined, weather- 
beaten face. His slightly nasal voice was dry and 
penetrating to the point of exasperation. For many 
years he had acted as "farrier" to L. Division. 

George warily accepted the share of the pleasantry 
extended to him with a shrug, and a non-committal 
grin. But Hardy chose to regard it as a distinct 
challenge, and therefore a promising bone of conten- 
tion. He gloated over it awhile ere pouncing. 

A medium-sized, wiry, compactly-built man bodily, 
Hardy bore lightly the weight of his forty-five years. 
His hair was of that uncertain sandy colour which 
somehow never seems to turn gray; the edges of the 
crisply-curling forelock being soaped, rolled and 
brushed up into that approved tonsorial ornament 
known in barrack-room parlance as a "quiff." His 
complexion was of that peculiar olive-brown shade 
especially noticeable in most Anglo-IndJ 3. In his 
smart, soldierly aspect, biting, jerky Cockney speech 
and clipped, wax-pointed moustache he betrayed un- 
mistakably the ex-Imperial cavalry-man. 
"Old sweats I" he echoed sarcastically — he pro- 



I 



18 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

nounced it <'aoweld»_"Yas- you go tell that t' th' 
Mames, me ladl . . . Took a few y th' sime .oTd 

o you mossbacks at th' stort orf. Geel Karl „h 
^rblimey yas," He illustrated his tren Jant^elks' 
in suggestive pantomime. 

sayi^-.Or,r""?' '"'"•^'^' "■^"' '^-- th' 
saym — Old soldier — old stiff?' » 

His adversary burnished a spur ' viciously "Old 
Pleeceman - old son of a - " he retorted with a spU 
ful gnn. "W'y, my old Kissiwasti here knows I 
abaht drill'n wot you do." He indicated a lerT 
r^u^b e-looki„g gray parrot, preening itself nc^ 
which stood upon a cot nearby. ^ 

At the all-familiar sound of its name the biid sud 
denly ceased its monotonous beak and d.w 
for a snarp K« ■ ^'^^ gymnastics 

ftere came a prehmmary craning of neck and winkin. 

of white-parchment-lidded eves pn^ ♦;, • ^'"^ 
,-r.„i u "jucu eyes, and then, in short 

wgly human fashion it proceeded f„ • , 

L Z m. •" »"«''™ "«M have ,„k„.j 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 19 

his eyes and, in a strong cereal accent gave vent to a 
somnolent peevish protest. 

"Losh! . . . whot wi' you fellers bickerin' an' yon 
damn bird currsin' I canna sleep! . . . gie th' — " 
Cut Hardy silenced him with a warning finger. 
"Sh-sh! McSporran!" he hissed in a loud eager 
whisper, "Jes' 'awk t' im? . . . gort th' real reg'mental 
tatch 'as old Kissiwasti! ain't he?" — his face shone 
with simple pride — "d' yer 'ken' that? sh-sh! listen 
now! . . Yer shud 'ear 'im s'y 'Oot, mon!' . . . 
'Awk t'im up an' tellin'yer w'y th' Jocks wear th' kUts." 
Awhile McSporran listened, but with singular lack of 
enthusiasm. Presently, swinging his legs over the side 
of the cot with a weary sigh, he proceeded to fill his 
pipe. He was a thick-set, grey-eyed fair man about 
thirty, with a stolid, though shrewd, clean-shaven face. 
"Best ye stickit tae wha' ye ca' 'English,' auld mon! " 
he remarked irritably, "Baith yersel' an' yer plurry 

pairrut Ou ay, I ken!— D'ye ken John 

Peel? — " 

Aad, in derision he hummed a few lines of a rather 
vulgar parody of that ancient song that obtained 
around Barracks. 

"Say, by gad, though! that bird is a fright!" ejacu- 



out tracts like that when the O C suT '" '° ''^"'^ 
he'll get invested with the Ord;r o^Tk ^x' ""'^^"^ 

^ey the quartermaster, havThi J h! '^' ^""''- 

other day and heard Wm H. ""' "^ ^^'" *<= 

^id he'd like to buy hZ" of ""' *"^"^ '" ''^* - 
finish his education » ''°"' ""^ ''^P '^^ ««■ - 

"Oh, 'e did, did 'e?» growled H,,^ 
«;"' with iii^oncealed inte^^ "W^f? ™""'"'"^'^' 
t' 'ave 'iml» He breathJl . ' " ^"" «■«»'»' 

-«^h«^>-ttohi:::Sor.^::,^-^'-"^ 

connosser I will admit " h» B^nkley « some 

Kissiwasti's got otT' W "T '"''^■"«'^' "''"t 

dahn there-took 'is dZtt"?/,"''"""^^ 
tike an' 'ang 'is kvrl<,» ^ ' P^*" ^ "ster 

"•din school'o ?.' 1^ :,^V""^ ^"^'^ '•" ^■ 
«•' ridin' master w sTreZ'" 'T '" ^'"^"P^"' 
'toppin' orf wot? -. '" ^ """'* °' 'ookies 

Hardy'll be hZ "^ '^*^* '''^e him? 

y" be happy enough in Hen, so long as hec;; 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 21 
have his bloomin' old blackguard of a parrot along 
with him. If he can't there will be a pretty fuss." 

"Bear up, Hardy 1" comforted George. "When 
you've got that 'quiff' of yours all fussed up, and thcsi 
new 'square-pushin' ' dress-pants on you're some 'hot 
dog.' . . . Now, if I thought you could 'talk pretty' 
and behave yourself I'd — " 

The old soldier grinned diabolically. "Sorjint?" he 
broke in mincingly "c'n I fall out an' tork t' me sister? 

— gam, Reddy! wipe orf yer chin! . . . though if 
I did 'appen t' 'ave a sister she might s'y th' sime 
fing abaht me, now, as she might s'y abaht you — to 
a lydy-fren' o' er's, p'raps. . . ." 

"Say what?" demanded George incautiously. 
Hardy chuckled again. " 'Ere comes one o' them 
Mounted Pleecemen, me dear, — orl comb an' spurs, 

— mark time in front there. . . !" And he emitted 
an imitation of a barnyard cackle. 

McCullough shot a glance at Redmond's face. "Can 
th' grief" he remarked unsympathetically, "you're fly 
enough usually ... but you fairly asked for it that 
time." 

Hardy spat into a cuspidor with long-range accuracy. 
He beamed with cheerful malevolence awhile upon his 



22 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

tormentors; then, uplifting a cracked falsetto in an 
unmusical wail, to the tune of "London Bridge is 
i'allmg Down," assured them that — 

"OU ,ow,li»s never die, never die, never die. 
Old soweliers never — " 

With infinite mockery Redmond's boyish voice 
struck in — 

"Young soldUrs wish they would, wish they-" 

"'Ere!" remonstrated Hardy darkly, "chuck it, 
Keddy! ... You know wot 'appens t' them as starts 
in a-guyin' old soweljers?-eh? - Well, I tell yer 
now! - worse'n wot 'appened ' Jiem fresh kids in th' 
Bible wot mocked th' old blowke abaht 'is bald 'ead " 
"fsch ga bibblel I don't care! " bawled the abandoned 
George; "can't be much worse than doing 'straight 
duty round Barracks, here! -same thing, dayjn, day 
out -go and look at the 'duty detail' board -Reri- 
mental Number - Constable Redmond, 'prisoner's es- 
cort -punching gangs of prisoners around all day 
long, on little rotten jobs about Barracks -and 'night 
guard' catching you every third night and — " 
"Oyez! oyez! oytz! you good men of this-" 
"Oh, yes! you can come the funny man all right 
Mac- you've got a 'staff' job. Straight duty don't 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 23 

affect you. Why don't they shove me out on detach- 
ment again, and give me another chance to do real 
police work? ... I tell you I'm fed up -properly. 
... I wish I was out of the blooming Force — I'm 
not 'wedded' to it, like you." 

'"Ear, 'ear!" chimed in Hardy, with a sort of 
miserable heartiness. McSporran's contribution was 
merely a dour Scotch grin. In the moment's silence 
that followed a tremendous bawling squall of wind 
rocked the building to its very foundations. The 
back-draught of it sucked open the door, and, borne 
upon Its wings, the roaring, full-chorused burst of a 
popular barrack-room chantey floated up the stairs 
from the canteen below — 

"Old King Cole was a merry old soul, 
And a merry old soul was he — 
Re called for his pipe, and he called for his ilass 
And he called for his old M.P." 

Outside the blizzard still moaned and howled; every 
now and then, between lulls, screeching gusts of sleet 
beat upon the windows. Thp parrot, clinging upside 
down to the roof of its cage, winked rapidly with 
Sphmx-like eyes and inclined its head sideways in an 
intent listening attitude. 



ilf 



in 



24 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Eyahl but th' Force's a bloomin' good home to 
some of you, all th' same," growled McCullough. 
"Listen to that 'norther'? . . . How'd you like to be 

chucked out into th' cold, cold world right now? 

You, Hardy 1 that's never done nothin' but 'soldier' all 
your life — you, Reddyl with your 'collidge edu- 
kashun'?" 

George, unmoved, listened respectfully awhile, lying 
on his stomach with his chin cupped in his hands. 
"Must have been a great bunch of fellows when you 
first took on the Force, Dave?" he queried presently. 

From sheer force of habit the old policeman glanced 
at his interlocutor suspiciously. But that young 
gentleman's face appearing open and serene, merely 
expressing naive interest, he grunted an affirmative 
"Uh-huh!" and backed his conviction with a cheer- 
ful oath. 

"Ah, they sure was. But where are they all now?" 
he rambled on in garrulous reminiscence, "some of 'em 
rich — some of 'em broke — an' many of 'em back on 
th' old Force again, an' glad to get their rations. 
There was some that talked like you, Mister Bloomin' 
Reddy! —fed up, an' goin' to quit — an' did quit — 
for a time. There was Corky Jones, I mind. Him 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 25 
that used to blow 'bout th' wonderful jobs he'd got 
th' pick of when he was 'time-ex.' All he got was 
'reeve' of some litUe shi-poke burg down south. 
Hooshomin its real name, but they mostly call it 
Hootch thereabouU. A rotten little dump of 'bout 
fifty inhabitants. They're drunk half th' time an' wear 
e?ch other's clothes. Ugh! filthy beggars! . . . He's 
back on th' Force again. There was Gadgett Malone. 
Proper dog he was — used to sing 'Love me, an' th' 
Wo'Id is Mine.' He got all balled up with a widder, 
first crack out o' th' box, an' she snook him down for 
his roll an' put th' skids under him in great shape in- 
side of a month. He's back on th' Force again. There 
was Barton McGuckin. When he pulled out he shook 
hands all around, I mind. Yes, sir! with tears in his 
eyes he did. Told us no matter how high he rose in th' 
world he'd never forget his old comrades — always 
rec'gnize 'em on th' street an' all that. On his way 
down town he was fool enough to go into one 0' these 
here Romany Pikey dives for to get his fortune told. 
This gypsy woman threw it into him he was goin' to 
make ' 's fortune in th' next two or three days by in- 
vestin' his dough in a certain brand of oil shares. . . ." 
McCullough paused and fiUed his pipe with elaborate 



26 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
care, "Th' last time I see him he was in th' buildin' 
an' contractin' line — carryin' a hod an' pushin' an 
Irishman's buggy . . . There's — but, aw hell ! what's 
th' use o' Ulkin'?" he concluded disgustedly. "No! 
times ain't what they was, by gum! — rough stuff an' 
all things was run more real reg'mental them days — 
not half th' grousin' either." 

"Reel reg'mental?" echoed Hardy minclngly, "aowe 
gorblimey! 'awk t'im? well, wot abaht it? I've done 
my bit, too! —in Injia. See 'ere; look!" 

He pulled up the loose duck-pant of his right leg. 
On the outside of the hairy, spare but muscular limb, 
an ugly old dirty-white scar zigzagged from knee to 
ankle. 

"Paythan knife," he informed them briefly, "but I 
did th' blowke in wot give it me." He launched into 
a lurid account of a border hill-scuffle that his regi- 
ment had been engaged in relating all its ghastly de- 
tails with great gusto. "Cleared me lance-point ten 
times that d'y," he remarked laconically. "Flint was 
aour Orf'cer Commandin' — Old 'Doolally Flint' — 
'ard old 'ranker' 'e wos. 'E'd worked us sumphin' 
crool that week. Night marches an' wot not. I tell 
yer that man 'ad no 'eart for men or 'orses. An' you 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 27 
tork abaht bein' reel reg'mental, Mad ... 'e wos 
a reg'mental old soor if yer like! ... Fit to drop we 
wos - wot wos left 0' us, an' th' bloody sun goin' down 
an' all. But nol 'e give us no rest -burial fat.gue 
right away. Free big trenches we buried aour pore 
fellers in — I can see 'en now. . . ." 

For some few seconds he ceased polishing his 
glossy, mahogany-shaded "Sam Browne" belt, and, 
chin in hand, stared unseeingly straight in front of 
him. His audience waited. "Arterwards!" he cleared 
his throat, "arterwards - w'en we'd filled in 'e made 
us put th' trimmin's on-line 'em out 'ead an' foot 
W.V big bowlders. T mind I'd jes kem a-staggerin' ap 
wiv a big stowne for th' 'ead o' Number Free trench 
but Doolally kep me a-markin time till 'e wos ready' 
'Kem ap a bit. Private 'Ar.iy,' 'e sez, 'kem ap a bit! 
you're aht o' yer dressin'!' 'e sez. 'Arry Wagstaff as 
wos m Number Two Squordron 'e pulls a bit o' chork 
aht of 'is pocket, an' 'e marks on 'is bowlder in big 
fat letters 'Lucky soors-in bed ev'ry night' -but 
old Doolally 'appened to turn rahnd an' cop 'im at it 
Drum-'ead coort-martial 'Arry gort for that, an' drew 
ten d'ys Number One Field Punishment. But that wos 
old Doolally all over. . . yer might s'y 'e 'adn't no sense 



28 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

o' 'umor, that man. Down country we moves next d'y, 
for Peshawur, where th' reg'ment lay. We'd copped a 
thunderin' lot o' prisoners — th' Mullah an' all." 

"Wha' d'ye ca' a Mullah?" queried McSporran, with 
grave interest. 

Hardy, carbine-barrel between knees — struggled 
with a "pull-through." "Mullah? well, 'e's a sorter — 
sorter 'ead blowke," he mumbled lamely. 

"Kind of High Priest?" ventured George. 

The old soldier beamed upon him gratefully, "Ar, 
that's wot I meant. 'E stunk that 'igh th' Colonel 'e 
sez — " 

The storm doors banged below. "Redmond! —oh, 
Redmond!" The great, booming, bass voice rang 
echoing up the stairway. Involuntarily they all sprang 
to an attitude of alert attention. Rarely did Tom 
Belcher have to speak twice around Barracks. 

"There's the S.M.!" muttered George. Aloud he 
responded "Coming, Sergeant-Major! " And he swung 
downstairs where a powerfully-built man in a snow and 
ice-incrusted fur coat awaited him. 

"The O.C.'s orders, Redmond! —get your kit 
packed and hold yourself in readiness to pull out on the 
eleven o'clock West-bound to-morrow. You're trans- 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 29 
ferred to the Davidsburg detachmtJt. I'll give you 
your transport-requisition later." 

The storm doors banged b«hin.! him, .,id then, 
Redmond, not without design, foi :• d hinr^elf co saunter 
slowly -very slowly - upstairs again, whistling non- 
chalantly the while. 

Expectant faces greeted him. "What's up?" they 
chorused. With a fine assumption of indifference he 
briefly informed them. McSporran received the news 
with his customary stolidity, only his gray eyes 
twinkled and he chuntered something that was totally 
unintelligible to anyone save himself. But its effect 
upon McCulIough and Hardy was peculiar, not to say, 
startling in the extreme. With brush and burnisher 
clutched in their respective hands they both turned and 
gaped upon him fish-eyed for the moment. Then, as 
their eyes met, those two worthies seemed to experience 
a difficulty of articulation. 

Dumfounded himself, George looked from one to 
the other. "What the devil's wrong with you fools?" 
he queried irritably. 

Thereupon, McCulIough, still holding the eyes of the 

Cockney, gasped out one magical word — "Yorkey!" 

The spell was broken. "W'y, gorblimey!" said 



:§• 



W' 



30 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
Hardy, "Ain't that queer? — that's jes' wot I wos a- 
thinkln' . , . Well, Gawd 'elp Sorjint Slavin now!" 
With which cryptic utterance he resumed his eternal 
polishing. 

"Amenl" responded the farrier piously, "Reddy, 
here, an' Yorkey on th' same detachment. . . . What 
th' one don't know t'other'll teach him. . . . You'd 
better let 'era have th' parrot, too." 

McSporran, back on his cot with hands clasped be- 
hind his head, gobbled an owlish "Hoot, mon! th' twa o' 
them thegitherl . . . Loshl but that beats a' . . . but, 
hoo lang, Lard? hoo lang?" 

From various sources George had picked up the 
broken ends of many strange rumours relating to the 
personality and escapades of one Constable Yorke, of 
the Davidsburg detachment, whom he had never seen as 
yet. A hint here, a whisper there, a shrug and a low- 
voiced jest between the sergeant-major and the quarter- 
master, overheard one day in the latter's store. To 
Redmond it seemed as if a veil of mystery had always 
enveloped the person and doings of this man, Yorke. 
The glamour of it now aroused all his latent curiosity. 
"Why, what sort of a chap is this Yorke?" he in- 
quired casually. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 31 

McCullough, busily burnishing a bit, shrugged dep- 

recatingly and laughed. Hardy, putting the last 

tout lies to his revolver-holster, made answer, George 

thought, with peculiar reticence. 

"Wot, Yorkey? ... oh, 'e's a 'oly terror 'e is 

You arst Crampton," he mumbled — "arst Taylor — 
they wos at Davidsburg wiv 'im. Slavin's orl right 
but Yorkey I". . . He looked unutterable things. 
"Proper broken down Old Country torff 'e is, too, 
'E's right there wiv th' goods at police work, they s'y, 
but 'e's sure a bad un to 'ave to live wiv. Free weeks 
on'y, Crampton stuck it afore 'e applied for a transfer 
— Taylor, 'e on'y stuck it free d'ys." 

Redmond made a gesture of exasperation. "Ah-h! 
come off the perch! » he snarler" r ntishly, "what sort if 
old 'batman's' gaff are you ; to 'get my goat' 

with?" 

His display of irritation drew an explosive, mis- 
chievous cachinnation from the trio. 

"Old 'batman's' gaff?" echoed the Cockney grinning, 
"orl right, my fresh cove — this time next week you'll 
be tellin' us wewer it's old 'batman's' gaff, or not." 

Outside, the blizzard still moaned and beat upon the 
windows, packing the wind-driven snow in huge drifts 



32 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

about the big main building. Inside, the canteen 
roared — 

Sum, tumi tuidUdy-umI wfU have a lair old spreel" 

McSporran slid off his coat with surprising alacrity. 
"Here's anel" he announced blithely. Hardy, care- 
fully hanging up his spotless, glossy equipment at the 
head of his cot, turned to the farrier who was likewise 
engaged in arranging a bridle and a pipe-clayed head- 
rope. 

"Wot abaht it. Mac?" he queried briskly. 

McCullough, in turn looked at Redmond. "All 
right!" responded that young genUeman with a boyish 
shrug and grin, "come on then, you bloomin' old 
spongesi let's wet my transfer. I'll have time to pack 
my kit to-morrow, before the West-bound puUs out" 

Upon their departing ears, grown wearily familiar 
to Its monotonous repetition, fell the parrot's customary 
adieu, as that disreputable-looking bird swung rhyth- 
mically to and fro on its perch. 

"Goo' byel " it gabbled, "A soldier's farewell' to yehl 
goo' bye! goo' bye!" 



CHAPTER II 

Homeless, ragged and tanned, 
Under the changeful sky; 
Who so free in the land? 
Who so contented as I?. 

THl VAGABOND 

THE long-drawn-out, sweet notes of "Reveille" 
rang out in the frosty dawn. Reg. No. — Const. 
George Redmond, engaged at that moment in 
pulling on his "fatigue-slacks" hummed the trumpet- 
call's time-honoured vocal parody — 

"/ sold a cow, I sold a cow, an' bought a donk-ee— 
Oh — what — a silly old sot you werel" 

The room buzzed like a drowsy hive with hastily 
dressing men. Breathing hotly on the frosted window- 
pane next his cot, George rubbed a clear patch and 
glued his eye to it. The blizzard had died out during 
the night leaving the snnw-drifted landscape frosty, 
still and clear. A rapidly widening strip of blended 
rose and pale turquoise on the eastern horizon gave 
promise of a fine day. 
He turned away with a contented sigh and, descend- 

33 



34 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

ing the stairs, fell in with the rest of the fur-coated, 
moccasined men on "Morning Stable Parade." 

Three hours later, breakfast despatched, blankets 
rolled and kit and dunnage bags packed, he received a 
curt summons from the sergeant-major to attend the 
Orderly-room. To the brisk word of command he 
was "quick-marched" "\eh-wheeled," and "halted" at 
"attention" before the desk of the Officer Commanding 
L. Division. 

"Constable Redmond, Sirl" announced the deep- 
throated, rumbling bass of the lergeant-major; and for 
some seconds George gazed at the silvery hair and wide 
bowed shoulders of the seated figure in front of him, 
who continued his perusal of some type-written sheets 
of foolscap, as if unaware of any interruption. Else- 
where have the kindly personality and eccentricities of 
Captain Richard Bargrave been described; "but that," 
as Kipling says, "is another story." 

Presently the papers were cast aside, the bowed 
shoulders in the splendidly-cut blue-serge uniform 
squared back in the chair, and Redmond found him- 
self being scrutinized intently by the all-familiar 
bronzed old aristocratic countenance, with its sweeping 
fair moustache. Involutarily he stiffened, though his 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 35 

ey-s, momentarily overpowered by the intensity of 
thai keen gaze, strayed to the level of his superior's 
breast and focussed themselves upon two campaign 
ribbons there, "North-West Rebellion" and "Ashantee" 
decorations. 

Suddenly the thin, high, cultured voice addressed 
him — whimsically — sarcastic but not altogether un- 
kindly: 

"The Sergeant-Major" — the gold-rimmed pince-nez 
were swung to an elevation indicating that individual 
and the fair moustache was twirled pensively — "the 
Sergeant-Major reports that — er — for the past six 
months you have been conducting yourself around 
the Post with fair average" — the suave tones hardened 
— "that you have wisely refrained from indulging 
your youthful fancies in any more such — er — dam- 
fool antics, Sir, as characterized your merry but brief 
career at the Gleichen detachment, so — er — I have 
decided to give you another chance. I have here" — 
he fumbled through some papers — "a request from 
Sergeant Slavin for another man at Davidsburg. I 
am transferring you there. Slavin — er — damn the 
man! damn the man! what's wrong with him, Sergeant- 
Major? . . . Two men have I sent him in as many 



36 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

months, and both of 'em, after a few days there, on 
some flimsy pretext or another, applied for transfers 
to other detachments. Good men, too. If this occurs 
again — damme!" — he glared at his subordinate — 
"I'll — er — bring that Irish 'ginthleman' into tht 
Post for a summary explanation. Wire him of this 
man's transfer! ... All right, Sergeant-Major 1" 

"About-turrnl —quick-march!" growled again the 
bass voice of the senior non-com; and he kept step be- 
hind George into the passage. "Here's your transport 
requisition, Redmond. Now — take a tumble to your- 
self, my lad — on this detachment. You're getting 
what 'Father' don't give to many — a second chance. 
Good-bye!" 

George gripped the proffered hand and looked full 
into the kindly, meaning eyes. "Good-bye, S.M.!" he 
said huskily, "Thanks!" 



Westward, the train puffed its way slowly along a 
slight, but continual up-grade through the foothills, 
following more or less the winding course of the Bow 
River. Despite the cold, clear brilliance of the day, 
seen under winter conditions the landscape on either 
side of the track presented a rather forlorn, dreary 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 37 

picfi-e. So it appeared to George, anyway, as he 
gazed out of the window at the vast, spreading, white- 
carpeted valley, the monotonous aspect of which was 
only occasionally relieved by sparsely-dotted ranches, 
small wayside stations, or w?en they thundered across 
high trestle bridges over the partly-frozen, black, 
steaming river. 

Two summers earlier he had travelled the same road, 
on a luxurious trip to the Coast. The memory of its' 
scenic splendor then, the easy-going stages from one 
sumptuous mountain resort to another, now made him 
feel slightly dismal and discontented with his present 
lot. Eye-restful solace came however with the sight of 
the ever-nearing glorious sun-crowned peaks of the 
mighty "Rockies," sharply silhouetted against the 
dazzling blue of the sky. 

Children's voices behind him suddenly broke in upon 
his reverie. 

"That man!" said a small squeaking treble, "was a 
hobo. He was sitting in that car in front with the hard 
seats an' I went up to him an' I said, 'Hullo, Mister! 
why don't you wash your face an' shave it? we've all 
washed our faces this morning'. ... We did, didn't 
we, Alice? — an' washed Porkey's too, an' he said 



38 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

'Hullo, Bo! wash my face? -I don't have to -I 
might catch cold.' " 

"But Jerry!" said another child's voice, "I don't 
think he could have been a real hobo, or he'd have had 
an empty tomato-can hanging around his neck on a 
strmg, like the pictures of 'Weary Willie' an' I'ired 
Tim' in the funny papers." 

Then ensued the sounds as of a juvenile scuffle and 
squawk. Master Jerry apparently resented having his 
pet convictions treated in this "Doubting Thomas" 
fashion, for the next thing George heard him say, was- 
"Goozlemy, goozlemy, goo.r.myi . . . No! he hadn't 
got a tomato-can, silly! but i.e'd got a big, fat botUe in 
his pocket an' he pulled the cork out of it an' sucked 
an' I said 'What have you got in your bottle?' an' he 
said 'CoW tea' but it didn't smell a bit like cold tea. 
There's a Mounted Policeman sitting in that seat in 
front of us. Let's ask him. Policemen always lock 
hoboes up in gaol an' kick them in the stomach, like 
you see them in the pictures." 

The next instant there came a pattering of little 
feet and two small figures scrambled into the vacant 
seat in front of Redmond. His gaze fell on a diminu- 
tive, red-headed, inquisitive-faced urchin of some eight 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 39 

years, and a small, gray-eyed, wistful-looking maiden, 
perhaps about a year younger, with hair that matched 
the boy's in colour. Under one dimpled arm, she 
clutched tightly to her — upside-down — a fat, squirm- 
ing fox-terrier puppy. Hand-in-hand, in an atUtude of 
breathless, speculative awe, they sat there bolt upright, 
like two small gophers; watching intently the face of 
the uniformed representative of the Law, as if seeking 
some reassuring sign. 

It came presently — a kind, boyish, friendly smile 
that gained the confidence of their little hearts at 
once. 

"Hullo, nippers!" he said cheerily. 

"Hullo!" the two small trebles responded. 

"What's your name, son?" 

"Jerry!" 

"Jerry what?" 

An uneasy wriggle and a moment's hesitation then — 
"Jeremiah!" came a small — rather sulky — voice. 

Breathing audibly in her intense eagerness the little 
girl now came to the rescue. 

"Please, policeman?" she stopped and gulped ex- 
citedly — "please, policeman? — he doesn't like to be 
called that It isn't kis fault. He always throws 



:t 
iii- 

I 



40 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

stones at the bad boys when they call him that. Call 
him just 'Jefiy' " 

That gamin, turning from a minute examination of 
Redmond's spurred moccasins, began to swing his 
chubby legs and bounce up and down upon the cush- 
ioned seat. 

"Her name's Alice," he volunteered, with a sidelong 
fling of his carrot-tinted head. "Yes! she's my sister" 
— he made a snatch at the pup whose speedy demise 
was threatened, from blood to the head — "don't hold 
Porkey that way, Alice! his eyes'U drop out." 

But his juvenile confrere shrugged away from his 
clutch. "Stupid!" she retorted, with fine scorn, "no 
they won't. . . , it's on'y guinea pigs that do that! — 
when you hold them up by their tails." Nevertheless 
she promptly reversed that long-suffering canine, which 
immediately demonstrated its gratitude by licking her 
face effusively. 

The all-important question of the hobo was next 
commended to his attention, with a tremendous amount 
of chatt ring rivalry, and, with intense gravity he was 
cogitating how to render a satisfactory finding to both 
factions when steps, and the unmistakable rustle of 
skirts, sounded in his immediate rear. Then a laa -"s 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 41 

voice said, "Oh, there you are, children! ... I was 
wondering where you'd got to." 

The two heads bobbed up simultaneously, with a joy- 
ful "Here's Mother 1" and George, turning, glanced 
with innate, well-bred curiosity at a stout, pleasant- 
faced, middle-aged woman who stood beside them. 

"I hope these young Imps haven't been bothering 
you?" she said. "We were in that car behind, but I was 
reading and they've been having a great time romping 
all over the place. Oh, well! I suppose it's too much 
to expect children to keep still on a train." 

With a fond motherly caress she putted the two small 
flaming heads that now snuggled boisterously against 
her on either side. 

"Come now! Messrs. Bubble and Squeak! " she urged 
teasingly, "march! —back to our car again!" 

"Bubble and Squeak" seemed appropriate enough 
just then, to judge by the many fractious objections im- 
mediately V .iced by those two small mutineers. They 
were loth to part with their latest acquaintance and 
weren't above advertising that fact with unnecessary 
vehemence. Even the puppy raised a snuffling whine. 
"Boo-hoo!" walled Jerry, "don't want to go in the 
other car — me an' Alice want to stay here — the 
policeman's goin' to tell us all about hoboes — he — " 



42 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Oh, dear!" came a despairing little sigh, "what- 
ever — " 

Their eyes met and, at the droll perplexity he read 
in hers, George laughed outright. An explosive frank 
boyish laugh. He rose with a courteous gesture. "I'm 
afraid it's a case of 'if the mountain won't come to 
Mahomet,'" he began, with gay sententiousness. 
"Won't you sit down?" 

The matron's kindly eyes appraised the bold, manly 
young face a moment, then, with a certain leisurely 
grace, she stepped in between the seats and, seating her- 
self, lugged her two small charges down beside her. 

"I suppose, under the circumstances, an old woman 
like me can discard the conventionalities?" she re- 
marked smilingly. 

Jerry and Alice leered triumphantly at their victim. 
"Nowl" Jerry shrilled exactingly "tell us all about 
hoboes!" 

"They do carry empty tomato-cans, don't they?" 
pleaded Alice. 

It was now their guardian's turn to laugh at his 
dismay. "You see what you've let yourself in for 
now?" she remarked. 

"Seems I am up against it," he admitted, with a 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 43 

rueful grin, "well I must make good somehow, I sun- 
pose?" ^ 

With an infinitely boyish gesture he tipped his fur 
cap to the back of his head and leaned forward with 
finger-tips compressed in approved story-telling 
fashion. * 

"Once upon a timel-" a breathless "Yes-s"- 
those two small faces reminded him much of terriers 
watching a rat-hole - "there was a hobo." He thought 
hard. "He was a very dirty old hobo - he never used 
to wash his face. He was walking along the road one 
day when he heard a little wee voice call out 'Hey!' 
He looked down and he saw an empty tomato-can on 
a rubbish heap. Tomato-cans used to be able to talk in 
those days and the hoboes were very good to them — 
always used to drink out of them and carry them to save 
them from walking. This can had a picture of its big 
red face on the outside. 'Give us a lift?' said the can 
'Where to?' said the old hobo. 'Back to California' 
where I came from,' said the can. 'AH right! ' said the' 
old hobo, 'I'm goin' there, too.' And he picked the can 
up and hung it round his neck and kept on walking till 
they came to a house. The w-'ndow of the house was 
open and they could see a big fat bottle on a little table. 



44 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
'Ahl ' said the old hobo 'here's an old friend of mine! — 
he's comin' with us, too." And he shoved his arm 
through the window and put the bottle in his pocket. 
By and by they came to a river — 'Hey!' said the 
can, again — 'What's up?' said the old hobo — 'I'm 
dry,' said the can — 'So am I,' said the hobo; and he 
dipped the can in the water and gave it a very little 
drink. 'Hey! ' said the can, 'give us a drop more! ' — 
'Wait a bit!' said the old hobo, and he pulled the cork 
out of the bottle. 'Don't you pour any of that feller 
into me!' said the can, 'he'll burn my inside out — an' 
yours — if you pour him into me I'll open my mouth 
where I'm soldered and let him run out, and you won't 
be able to drink out of me any more. Chuck him into 
the river! — he's no good.' 

" 'You shut your mouth!' said the old hobo, 'or I'll 
chuck you into the river! ' And he poured some of the 
stuff out of the bottle into the can — " 

At this exciting point poor George halted for breath 

and mopped his forehead. He felt fully as thirsty as 

the tomato-can. But the children were upon him, 

clutching his scarlet tunic: 

"What did he do then?" howled Jerry. 

"Eh?" gasped the young policeman, — «oh, he 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 45 
opeucd his mouth where he was soldered and let the 
stuff run out. So the old hobo threw him into the river 
That's why hoboes always pack a bottle with them now 
instead of a tomato-can." 

He leaned back with a sigh and, thrusting his hands 
deep into his pockets, smiled wanly at his vis-a-vis. 

"There!" he said, with feeble triumph, "I've carried 
out the sentence." 

And it did him good to drink in her mirthful, waggish 
laugh. 

"Yesl" she conceded gaily, "you certainly did 
great execution, though you look more like a prisoner 
just reprieved." 

Jerty, screwing up his small snub nose leered trium- 
phantly across her lap at Alice. "Goozlemy, goozlemy 
goozlemy!" he squeaked, "that man was a real hobo "' 
His grimace was returned with interest. Alice 
hugged her puppy awhile contentedly, murmuring in 
that canine's ear, "What a silly old thing that tomato- 
can must have been. If I'd been him I'd have kept 
my mouth shut." 

"Cow Run!" intoned the brakeman monotonously 
^sing through the coaches, "Cow Run next stop!"' 
His eye fell on Redmond. "Wish I'd seen you before 



46 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
Officer 1" he remarked, "I'd have had a hobo for you. 
Beggar stole a ride on us from Glenbow, back there. 
The con's goin' to chuck him off here — do you want 
him?" 

"No ! " said Redmond shortly, "let the stiff go — I'm 
going on to Davidsburg — haven't got time to get 
messing around with 'vags' now." 

The train began to slow down and presently stopped 
at a small station. Mechanically the quartette gazed 
through the window at the few shivering platform 
loungers, and D3yond them to the irregular, low-lying 
fagade of snow-plastered buildings that comprised the 
dreary main street of the little town. 
Suddenly the children uttered a shrill yelp. 
"There he is!" cried Alice, darting a small finger at 
the window-pane. 
"I saw him first!" bawled Jerry. 
And, slouching past along the platform, all huddled- 
up with hands in pockets, George beheld a ragged non- 
descript of a man whose appearance confirmed Master 
Jerry's previous assertion beyond doubt. 

The children drummed on the window excitedly. 
Glancing up at the two small peering faces the human 
derelict's red-nosed, stubble-coated visage contorted 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 47 
itself into a friendly grimace of recognition; at the same 
time, with an indescribably droll, swashbuckling 
swagger he doffed a shocking dunghill of a hat. 

Suddenly though his jaw dropped and, replacing his 
battered headpiece, with double-handed indecent haste 
the knight of the road executed an incredibly nimble 
"right-about turn" and vanished behind the station- 
house. Just then came the engine's toot! toot! , the con- 
ductor's warning -'All aboar-rd!" and the train started 
once more on its journey westward. 

Smiling grimly to himself, the policeman settled 
back in his seat again and glanced across at the lady. 
She was shaking with convulsive laughter. 

"Oh!" she giggled hysterically "he — he must have 
seen your red coat!" another spasm of merriment, "it 
was as good as a pantomime," she murmured. 

Evincing a keen interest in his soldierly vocation, 
for awhile she subjected him to an exacting and minute 
inquisition anent the duties and life of a Mounted 
Policeman. In this agreeable fashion the time passed 
rapidly and it was with a feeling of regret that he 
heard the brakeman announce his destination and rose 
to take leave of his pleasant companion. The children 
insisted on bidding their late chum a cuddling, oscula- 



48 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
tory farewell — Alice tearfully holding up the snuffling 
Porkey for his share. The train drew up at the Davids- 
burg platform, there came a chorus of "Good-byes" and 
a few minutes later George was left alone with his kit- 
bags on the deserted platform. 



CHAPTER III 

St. Agnes' Eve. Ah! fritter chUl it vias. 

The ovtil, lor aU kis feathers, was a-cold; 
The hare limped, trembling, through the froien grass; 

And drowsy was the flock in woolly fold. 

ST. AGNES' EVE 

REDMOND did not have to wait long. Sounding 
faint and far off came the silvery ring of sleigh- 
bells, gradually swelling in volume until, with 
a measured crunch! crunch! of hoofs on packed snow, 
a smart Police cutter, drawn by a splendid bay team, 
swung around a bend of the trail and pulled up at the 
platform. Redmond regarded with a little awe the 
huge, bear-like, uniformed figure of the teamster, whom 
he identified at once from barrack gossip. 

"Sergeant Slavin?" he enquired respectfully, eyeing 
the bronzed, clean-shaven face, half hidden by fur cap 
and tumed-up collar. 

"Meself, lad!" came a rich soft brogue, "I was 
afther gettin' a wire from th' O.C, tellin' me he was 
thransfering me another man. Yer name's Ridmond, 
ain't it? — Whoa, now! T an' B! —lively wid thim 

49 



THE MOUNTED 

pretty fresh an' will 



not 



SO THE LUCK Oi 

kit-bags, son! — team's 
shtand." 

They swung off at a spanking trot. George surveyed 
the white-washed cattle-corrals and few scattered 
shacks which seemed to comprise the hamlet of 
Davldsburg. 

"Not a very big place, Sergeant?" he remarked, "how 
far's the detachment from here?" 

"On'y 'bout a mile" grunted the individual, squirting 
a stream of tobacco-juice to leeward, "up on the high 
ground beyant. Nay! 'tis just a jumpin' off place an' 
shippin' point for th' ranches hereabouts. Business is 
mostly done at Cow Run — East. Ye passed ut, 
comin'. Great doin's there — whin th' cowpunchers 
blow in. Some burg!" 

"Sure looked it!" Redmond agreed absently, think- 
ing of the casual glimpse he had got of the dreary main 
street. 

They were climbing a slight grade. The sun-glare 
on the snow was intense; the cutter's steel runners no 
longer screeched, and the team's hoofs began to clog 
up with soft snow. 

"They're 'balling-up' pretty bad. Sergeant!" re- 
marked Redmond. And, as he spoke the "off" horse 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 51 

suddenly slipped and fell, and, plunging to its feet 
again, a leg slid over the cutter's tongue. 

"Whoa, nowl whoa!" barked Slavin, with an oath, 
as the mettled, high-strung animal began to kick 
affrightedly. Slipping again it sank down in the snow 
and remained still for some tense moments. 

Like a flash Redmond sprang from the cutter, and 
rapidly and warily he unhooked the team's traces. 
This done he crept to their heads and slipped the end 
of the tongue out of the neck-yoke ring. Slavin by this 
time „ -s also on his feet in the snow, with the situation 
well in hand. He clucked softly to his team, the fallen 
horse plunged to its feet again and the next moment 
all was clear. George, burrowing around in the snow 
unearthed a big stone, with which he proceeded to tap 
the team's shoes all round until the huge snow-clogs 
fell out. In silence the two men hooked up again and 
were soon on their way. 

"H-mml" grunted the big Irishman at last, eyeing 
his subordinate with a sidelong glance of approval, 
"h-mml teamster?" 

"Oh, I don't know, Sergeant" responded Redmond 
deprecatingly, "of course I've been around teams some 
— down East, on the old man's farm. . . I don't 



52 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

know that I can claim to be a real teamster — as you 
judge them in the Force." 

"H-mml" gTv id Slavin again, "ye seem tu have th' 
makin's anyway." He expectorated musingly. "Wan 
time — down at Coutts 'twas — a young feller was 
sint tu me for tu dhrive. Mighty chipper gossoon, 
tu. 'Teamster?' sez I — 'Some!' sez he, as if he was 
a reg'lar gua at th' business — 'but I'm gen'rally 
reckoned handier wid a foursome 'n a single team.' " 

" 'Ohl' sez I, 'fwhere?' An' he tould me — Regina. 
Sez I thin ' 'tis Skinner Adams's undershtudy ye must 
have bin? — for he was Reg'mentil Teamster Sarjint 
there, an' sure fwas a great man wid a four-in-hand 
team.' " 

" 'Fwat, ould Skinner Adams?' sez me bould lad, 
kind av contempshus-like, 'Humph 1 at shtringin' out 
four I have Skinner Adams thrimmed tu a peak.' We 
was dhrivin' from th' station tu th' detachmint — same 
like tu we're doin' now. Whin we gits in I unhitches 
an' puts up th' team. 'Give us a hand tu shling th' 
harniss off 1 ' sez I tu him — an' me shmart Aleck makes 
a shtab at ut wid th' nigh horse. He was not quite so 
chipper — thin, an' I notice ' his hands thremblin', an' 
he was all th' time watchin' me close how I did wid 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 53 

th' off harse. I dhraws off wid th' britchin' on me 
arrum - 'Cornel ' sez I - an' he shtarts in - unbuck- 
lin' th' top hame-shtrap. 

" 'As ye werel' sez I 'that's enoughl I'm thinkin' th' 
on'y "four" you iver shtrung out me young flapdhoodle 
was a gang av prisoners, an' blarney me sowll ye shal' 
go back tu th' Post right now, an' du prisoner's escort" 
agin for awhile.' " 

They had now reached the top of the grade where the 
trail swung due east, and faced a dazzling sun and 
cutting wind which whipped the blood to their cheeks 
and made their eyes water. 

"Behould our counthry eshtate!" said Sergeant 
Slavin grandiloquently, with an airy wave of his arm, 
"beyant that big pile av shtones on th' road-allowance."' 
He chirped to his team which broke into an even 
fast trot, and presently they drew up outside a building 
typical in its outside appearance of the usual range 
Mounted Police detachment. It was a fairly large 
dwelling, roughly but substantially-built of squared 
logs, painted in customary fashion, with the walls — 
white, and the shingled roof -red. A strongly- 
guyed flagstaff jutting out from one gable, and copies of 
the "Game" and "Fire Acts" tacked on the door gave 



54 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

the abode an unmistakable official aspect. Over the 
doorwiy was nailed a huge, prehistoric-looking buffalo- 
skull, b'tached white with the years — the time-hon- 
oured insignia of the R.N.W.M.P. being a buffalo-head, 
which isalso stamped on the regimental badgeand utton.' 
Dumping off the kit-bags, the_two men drove round 
to the stable in the rear of 'the niai- dwelling,* where 
they unhitched and put up the team. The sergeant led 
the way into the house. Passing through a small store- 
house and kitchen they emerged into the living room. 
On a miniature scale it was a replica of one of the Post 
barrack-roorr ;, except that the table boasted a tartan- 
rugged cvering, that two or three easy chairs were 
scattered around, and some calfskin mats partially 
covered the painted hardwood floor. The walls, for 
the most part were adorned with many unframed 
copies of pictures from the brush of that great Western 
artist, Charles Russell, and black and white sketches 
cut from various illustrated papers. Three comers of 
the room contained cots, one of which the sergeant 
assigned to Redmond. The room, with its big stove 
m a way looked comfortable enough, and was regi- 
mentally neat and clean and homelike. 
George peered into the front room beyond which 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 55 

bore quite a judicial aspect. At one end of it a small 

dais supported a severe-looking arm-chair and a long 

flat desk, on which were pil-'i foolscap, blank legal 

forms, law-Looks, and the Bible. In front was a long, 

form-like bench, with a back to it. At the rear of the' 

room were two strongly-built cells, with barred doors. 

Around the walls were scattered a double row of small 

chairs and, on a big, green-baize-covered board next the 

cells hung a brightly burnished assortment of handcuffs 

and leg-irons. 

^^ "'Tie here we hould coort," Slavin informed him, 
"whin we have any shtiffs tu be thried." 

Opening the front door George lugged in his bedding 
and kit-bags and, depositing them on his cot, flung off 
his fur coat, cap, and serge. Slavin divested himself 
likewise and, as the burly, bull-necked man stood there, 
slowly filling his pipe, Redmond was able to scan the' 
face and massive proportions of his superior more 
closely. 

Standing well over six feet, for the presentment of 
vast, though perchance clumsy, gorilla-like strength, 
George reflected with slight awe that he had never seen 
tiie man's equal. His wide-spreading shoulders were 
more rounded than square; his deep, arching chest, 






56 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

powerful, stocky nether limbs and dusproportionately 
long, huge-biceped arms seeming to fit him as an ex- 
ponent of the mat rather than the gloves. Truly a 
daunting figure to meet in a close-quarter, rough-and- 
tumble encounter 1 thought Redmond. The top of his 
head was completely bald; his thick, straight black 
brows indicating that what little close-cropped iron- 
gray hair remained must originally have been coal- 
black in colour. His Irish-blue eyes, alternately 
dreamy and twinklingly alert, were deeply set in a 
high-theeked-boned, bronzed face, with a long upper- 
lipped, grimly-humoious mouth. Its expression in 
repose gave subUe warning that its owner possessed in 
a marked degree the strongly melancholic, emotional, 
and choleric temperament of his race. There was no 
moroseness — no hardness in it, but rather the taci- 
turnity that invariably settles upon the face of those 
dwellers of the range who, perforce, live much alone 
with their thoughts. Sheathed in mail and armed, 
that face and bulky figure to some imaginations might 
have found its prototype in some huge, grim, war-worn 
"man-at-arms" ■ ' mediaeval times. Redmond judged 
him to be some? -here in his forties; forty-two was his 
exact age as he ascertained later. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 57 

In curious cop.trast to his somewhat formidable 
exterior seemed his mild, gentle, soft-brogued voice. 
And, with speech, his taciturn face relaxed insensibly 
into an almost genial expression, George noted. 

Attracted by a cluster of pictures and photographs 
above and around the cot in the corner opposite his 
own, the young fellow crossed over and scanned them 
attentively. Tacked up with a random, reckless hand, 
the bizarre collection was typically significant of some- 
one's whimsical, freakish tastes and personality. From 
the sublime to the ridiculous — and worse — subjects 
pious and impious, dreamily-beau'ful and lewdly- 
vulgar, comic and tragic, also many splendid photo- 
graphs were all jumbled together on the walls in a 
shockingly irresponsible fashion. Many of the pic- 
tures were unframed copies cut apparently from art 
and other journals; from theatrical and comic papers. 
George gazed on them awhile in utterly bewildered 
astonishment; then, with a little hopeless ejaculation, 
swung around to the sergeant who met his despairing 
grin with benign composure. 
"Whose cot's — " 

" 'Tis Yorke's," said Slavin simply. It was the first 
time he had mentioned that individual's name. He 



58 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
struck a match on the seat of his pants and standing 
with his feet apart and hands clasped behind his back 
smoked awhile contentedly. 

"Saw ye iver th' like av that for divarsiment?" he 
continued, with a wave of his pipe at the heterogeneous 
array, "shtudy thim! an', by an' large ye have th' nun 
himsilf. He's away on pay-day duty at th' Coalmore 
mines west av here — though by token, 'Us Billy 
Blythe at Banff shud be doin' ut, 'stead av me havin' tu 
sind a man from here. He shud be back on Number 
Four th' night." 

His twinkling orbs under their black smudge of eye- 
brow appraised the junior constable with faint, musing 
interest. "A quare chap is Yorkey," he continued 
genUy — shielding a match-flame and puffing with 
noisy respiration — a good polisman — knows th' 
Criminal Code from A tu Z — eyah ! but mighty quare. 
I misdoubt how th' tu av yez will get along." He sighed 
deeply, muttering half to himself, "I may have tu take 
shteps — this timel . . ." 

A rather ominous beginning, thought George. But, 
curbing his natural curiosity, he resolutely held his' 
peace, awaiting more enlightenment. This not being 
forthcoming — his superior having relapsed once more 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 59 
uito taciturn silence-he turned again to Yorke's ex 
h.b.ts with pondering interest. Sounding far'ff V^d 

r.:t: fa-""; 'r ^^'^^^ °^ ^^^ ^^-^ ^-^«> 

^«e the famt echoes of a coyote's shrill "ki-yip. 
Wng"-again and again, as if endeavouring fo 

Mnie...^gel.,..^,-tr^r^^^^ 
d.d hthograph of "The Angel of Pity at L Wdl of 
Cawnpore," Lottie Collins, scantily attired, in her song 
and dance "Tara-ra-ra-boom-de-ay," Si Frederick 
Le-^ton's "Wedd«,,» a gruesome' depictiol of a 
Chinese execution at Canton, an old-fashioned en- 
g-v:ng of that dashing, deboniar cavalry officer 
Major Hodson," of Indian Mutiny fa. ' George' 
Robey, as a nurse-maid, wheeling Little Tich in a per- 
ambulator, the grim, torture-lined face of Slatin Pasha 

Ta?M T r °? ^'''''" '^^^ «'»"''- edifice the 
T^ Mahal" of India, and so on. "Divarsiment" 



i 



6'J THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

To this ai-assorted admixture three exceptions only 
were grduped with any sense of reason. The central 
picture was a beautifully coloured reproduction of 
Sir Hubert Herkomer's famous masterpiece "The Last 
Muster." Lovers of art subjects are doubtless familiar 
with this immortal painting. It depicts a pathetic 
congregation of old, white-haired, war-worn pensioners 
attending divine service in the chapel of Old Chelsea 
Hospital, with the variegated liehts from the stained- 
glass windows flooding them with soft gentle colours. 
Flanking it on either side were portraits of the original 
founders of this historical institution in 1692 — Charles 
II (The Merry Monarch) and his kindly-hearted 'light 
o' love" Sweet Nell Gwynn of Old Drury. 

With curiously mixed feelings George finally tore 
himself away from Yorke's pathetically grotesque 
attempt at wall-adornment. Strive as he would within 
his soul to ridicule, the pictures seemed somehow al- 
most to shout at him with hidden meaning. As 
if a voice — a drunken voice, but gentlemanly withal 
— was hiccuping in his ear: "Paradise Lost, old mani 
(hie) Paradise Lost!" 

And, mixed with it, came again out of the silence of 
the foothills the coyote's faintly persistent mocking waU 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 6i 

— its "ki-yip-yap" sounding almost like "Bah! Yahl 
Baa!" . . . Some lines of an old quotation, picked up 
he knew not where, wandered into h- mind - 

Comedy, Tragedy, Laughter and Tearsl 
Thou'rt rotted as one ,n the Dust of Years! 

With a sigh he turned to his own cot and began to 
unpack and arrange his kit; in regulation fashion, and 
with such small faddy fixings customary to men inured 
to barrack life. Thus engaged the time passed rapidly 
Later m the day he assisted the sergeant in making out 
the detachment's "monthly returns" and diary This 
tesk accomplished, in the gathering dusk he attended 
Evemng Stables." There were two saddle-horses be- 
side the previously-mentioned team. A splendid up- 
standing pair, George thought them. He was good 
with horses; possessing the faculty of handling them 
that sprmgs only from a patient, kindly, instinctive 
Jove of animals. 

"Nay! I dhrive mostly," Slavin was telling him, 
buckboard an' team's away handier for a man av 
weight like meself. Eyah!" he sighed, "thC time was 
whin I cud throw a leg over wid th' best av thim 
Yorke_he gen'rally rides th' black, x-arson, so ye'li 
take th' sorrel, Fox, for yeh pathrols. He's a good 



62 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

stayer, an' fast. Ye'll want tu watch him at mounthin' 
tho' — he's not a mane harse, but he has a quare 
thrlck av turnin' sharp tu th' 'off' — just as ye go tu 
shwing up into th' saddle. Many's th' man he's whira- 
roo'd round wid wan fut in th' sUrrup an' left pickin' 
up dollars off th' bald-headed.' Weill let's tu supper." 

With the practised hand of an old cook he pre- 
pared a simple but hearty repast, upon which they fell 
with appetites keenly edged with the cold air. 

"Are ye anythin' av a cuk?" 

Redmond grinned deprecatingly and then shook his 
head. 

"Eyah! » grumbled Slavin, "seems I cannot hilp bein' 
cuk an' shtandin' orderly-man around here. I thried out 

Yorkey Wan day on'y tho' — 'tis th' divil's own 

cuk he is. 'Sarjint!' sez he, 'I'm no bowatchee'- 
which in Injia he tells me means same as cuk. An' he 
tould th' trute at that." 

Some three hours later, as they lay on their cots, 
came to them the faint, far-off tooti tootl of an engine' 
through the keen atmosphere. 

"That's Number Four from th' West," remarked 
Slavin drowsily, "Yorkey shud be along on ut. Well! 
a walk will not hurt th' man if " 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 63 

He chuntered something to himself. 
Half an hour elapsed slowly -three quarters 
Slavin rolled off his cot with a grunt and strode heavily 
to the front door, which he opened. Redmond silently 
followed him and together the two men stepped out into 
the crisply-crunching hard-packed snow. It was a 
magnificent night. High overhead in the star-studded 
sky shone a splendid full moon, its clear cold rays 
hghting up the white world around them with a sort 
of phosphorescent, scinUllating brilliance. 

Though not of a particularly sentimental tempera- 
ment, the calm, peaceful, unearthly beauty of the scene 
moved George to murmur — half to himself: 

"Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky. 
That dost not bite so nigh 
As benefits forgot, alasl 
As benefits forgot" 

To his surprise came Slavin's soft brogue echoing the 
last lines of the old Shakespearian sonnet, with a sort 
of dreamy, gentle bitterness: "As binifits forghot- 

forghot!-as binifits forghoti Luk tu that 

now! eyah! 'tis th'trute, lad! .... for here - unless 
I am mistuk, comes me bould Yorkey — an' dhrunk as 

a fiddler's again. Tchkk! an' me on'y just afther 

warnin' um. . . ." 



64 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

And, a far-away black spot as yet, down the moonlit, 
snow-banked trail, indistinctly they beheld an unsteady 
figure slowly weaving its way towards the detachment. 
At intervals the night-wind wafted to them snatches of 
song. 

"Slngin', singin'," muttered Slavin, "from break 

av morrn 'till jewy eve I ... Misther B Yorkel 

luks 'tis goin' large y'are th' night." 

Nearer and nearer approached the stumbling black 
figure, weaving an eccentric course in and out along 
the line of telephone poles; and, to their ears came the 
voice of one crying in the wilderness: — 

"0, tke Uidnigkt SonI the MidHight Soitl (hie) 
You needn't go trottbi' to Norway — 
You'll find him in ev'ry doorway — " 

A sudden cessation of the music, coupled with certain 
slightly indistinct, weird contortions of the vocalist's 
figure, apprised the watchers that a snow-bank had 
momentarily claimed him. Then, suddenly and saucily, 
as if without a break, the throbbing, high-pitched tenor 
piped up again — 

"roll's behold him in his glory 
If you on'y take a run (kic) 
Dovm tke Strand — thafs tke Land 
Of tke UidMgkt Son.'' 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 65 

Dewy eve indeed! —a far cry to the Strand! . . . 
How freakish sounded that old London variety stage 
ditty ridiculing the nightly silence of the great snow- 
bound Nor' West. Redmond could not refrain an ex- 
plosive, snorting chuckle as he remarked the erratic gait 
of the slowly approaching pedestrian. As Slavin had 
opined, he was "going large." His vocal efforts had 
ceased temporarily, and now it was the junior con- 
stable's merriment that broke the frosty stillness of the 
night. 

But Slavin did not laugh. Watchfully he waited 
there — curiously still, his head jutting forward lower- 
ingly from between his huge shoulders. 

"Tchkk!" he clucked in gentle distaste — "In uni- 
form ... an' just afther comin' off the thrain! . . . 
th' like av that now 'tis — 'tis scandh'lus! . . ." 

Suddenly Redmond shivered, and his mirth died 
within him. The air seemed to have become charged 
with a tense, ominous something that filled him with a 
great dread — of what? he knew not. He felt an in- 
explicable impulse to cry out a warning to that ludi- 
crous figure, whose crunching moccasins were now the 
only sounds that broke the uncanny stillness of the 
night. To him, the whole scene, bathed »» the cold bril- 



i 



66 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

liance of its moonlit setting, seemed ghostly and unreal 
— a disturbing dream of comedy and tragedy, 
intermingled. 

Inwards, between the telephone poles, the man came 
stumbling along, gradually drawing nigh to the motion- 
less watchers. Halting momentarily, during his prog- 
ress he made a quick stooping action at the base of 
one of the poles, as if with vague purpose, which action 
was remarked at least by Redmond. 

Then, for the first time, he seemed to become aware 
of their presence, and making a pitiful attempt to dis- 
semble his condition and assume a smart, erect military 
carriage he waved his riding-crop at them by way of 
salutation. Something in his action, its graceful, airy 
mockery, trivial though it was, impressed the gesture 
firmly in Redmond's mind. He became cognizant of 
a flushed, undeniably handsome face with reckless eyes 
and mocking lips; a slimly-built figure of a man of 
medium height, whose natural grace was barely con- 
cealed by the short regimental fur coat. 

Halting unsteadily within the regulation three paces 
pending salute, he struck an attitude commonly affected 
by Mr. Sothern, in "Lord Dundreary," and jauntily 
twirled his crop, the while he declaimed: — 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 67 

"Waltz me round again, Willie, Willie, 
Round and round and — " 

"Round!" finished Slavin, with a horrible oath. 
There seemed something shockingly aboriginal — 
simian — in the swift, gorilla-like clutch of his huge 
dangling hands, as they fastened on the throat and 
shoulder of the drunken man and whirled him on his 
back in the snow — something deadly anil menacing 
in his hard-breathing, soft-brogued invecUve: 

"Yeh bloody nightingale! come off th' perch! 
I'm fed up wid yeh! — I'll waltz yeh! — I'll tache yeh 
tu make a mock av Burke Slavin, time an' again 1 
I'll — " 

Redmond interposed, "Steady, Sergeant!" he im- 
plored shakily, his hand on his superior's shoulder 
"For God's sake — " ' 

But Slavin, in absent fashion, shoved hiir, off. He 
seemed to put no effort in the movement, but the tense 
muscular impact of it sent Redmond reeling yards 
away. 

"Giddap, Yorkey! God d n ye for a dhrunken 

waster!— giddap! or I'll put th' boots tu yeh!" 
Terrible was the menace of the giant Irishman's face, 
his back-flung boot and his snarling, curiously low- 
pitched voice. 



68 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"No! nol Burke, old mani ... ah, don't!" gasped 
the rich tenor voice pleadingly from the snow -"ah 
don't, Burke! . . . remember, remember . . . st' 
Agnes' Eve — 



"St. Afnei' Evt. 
The — " 



Ah I bilttr chitt U was. 



It broke -that throbbing voice with its strange 
impassioned appeal. Far away over the snow the' 
faint, silvery ring of a locomotive's gong fell upon the 
ears of the trio almost like the deep, solemn tolling of 
bells. 

Then slowly, and seemingly in pain, the prostrate 
man arose. 

And yet! Redmond mused, sorry a figure as he cut 
just then, minus fur-cap and plastered with snow 
alone with the shame which was his, Lc had an air a 
certain dignity of mien, this man, Yorke, which 
stamped him far above the common run of men. 

The junior constable, as he noted the dark hair 
silvering and worn away at the temples, adjudged him 
to be somewhere between thirty and forty - thirty-five 
was his exact age as he ascertained later. 

Now, with the air of a fallen angel, he stood there in 
the cold, snow-dazzling moonlight; his face registering 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 69 
silent resignation as to whatever else might befall 
Wm. The sergeant had stepped forward. Redmond 
Iooke.1 on, in dazed apprehension. A solemn hush had 
fallen upon the strange scene, and stranger trio. Their 
!^gures flung weird, fantastic shadows across the 
diamond-sparkling snow<rust. George glanced at 
Slavin, and that individual's demeanor amazed him stiU 
further. The big man's face was transformed. There 
seemed something very terrible just then iu the pathetic 
working of his rugged features, as if he were str.vmj; tc 
allay some powerful inward emotion. Then huAlly 
but not unkindly -as perchance the father may have 
spoken to the prodigal son - came his soft brogue: 

"Get yu tu bed, Yorkeyl get yu tu bed, man! . . , 
an' thry me no morel . . . ." 

Mutely, like a child, Yorke obeyed the order. Glanc- 
ing at Redmond he turned and walked unsteadily into 
the detachment. 

Perturbed and utterly mystified at the sordid drama 
he had witnessed, Its amazing combination of brutality 
and pathos, George remained rooted to the spot as one 
in a dream. Instinctively though, he felt that this was 
not the first time of its enactment. Mechanically he 
watched the door close; then sounding far off and in- 



70 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

distinct, Slavin's hoarse whisper in his ear brought him 
down to Mother Earth again with a vengeance: 
"Did ye mark him stoop an' 'plant' th' 'hootch?' " 
George nodded. "I wasn't quite wise to what he was 
at," he answered. 

"Let us go get ut!" said Sergeant Slavin grimly 
marching to the spot, "I will not have dhrink brought 
mto th' detachment! . . . 'tis against ordhers." 

He bent down, straightened up, and turning to Red- 
mond who had joined him exhibited a bottle. He held 
it up to the light of the moon. It appeared to be about 
half empty. Extracting the cork, he smelt. 

•"Tis whiskey," he murmured simply — much as 
Mr. Pickwick said: "It is punch." He made casual 
examination of the green and gold label. «'Bi- ,'s 
Oirish,' begob! . . . eyah! a brave ould uniform but" 
— he turned a moist eye on his subordinate — "a 
desp'ritly wounded souldier that wears ut — betther 
out av pain. 'Tis an' ould sayin': 'Whin ye meet th' 
divil du not turn tail but take um by th' harns.' 
Bhoy! I thrust the honest face av yeh — I have tuk 
tu ye since th' handy lad ye showt yersilf with that 
team mix-up th' mom." 
Redmond, mollified, grinned shiveringly. "I don't 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 71 

mind a snort, Sergeant," he said, "it's d d cold out 

here. Beer's more in my line though. Salue! " 
He took d swallow or two; the bottle changed hands. 
"Eyah!" remarked Slavin sometime later — 
cuddling the bottle at the "port arms." « 'Tis put th' 
kibosh on many a good man in th' ould Force has this 
same dhrink. Th' likes av Yorkey there" — he jerked 
his head at the lighted window — "shud never touch ut 
— never touch ut! ... Cannot flirrt wid a bottle — 
'tis wedded they wud be tu ut. Now meself" — he 
paused impressively — "I can take me dhrink like a 
ginthleman — can take ut, or lave ut alone." 

Absorptive demonstration followed. Came a long- 
drawn, smacking "Ah-hb!" "A sore thrial tu me is 
that same man," he resumed, "wan more break on his 
part, as ye have seen this night ... an' I musht— I 
will take shteps wid um." 

"Why don't you transfer him back to the Post?" 
queried George, wonderingly, mindful of how swiftly 
that disciplinary measure had rewarded his own reck- 
less conduct at the Gleichen detachment. "He's got 
nothing on you, has he?" 

"Fwhat?" . . . Slavin, turning like a flash, glared 
sharply at him out of deep-set scowling eyes, "Fwhat?" 



$ 



72 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Tonelessly, George repeated his query. 

Slavin's glare graduaUy faded. "Eyahl » he affirmed 
presently, "he hasl . . ." came a long pause -"but 
not as yu mane ut . . . ohi begorrah, no!" His eyes 
gh-ttered dangerously and his wide mouth wreathed 
into an unholy grin, " 'Tis a shmart man that iver puts 
ut over on me at th' Orderly-room. . Fwhy du I not 
siBd him into th' Post? . eyah! fwhy du I not.' " 

Chin sunk on his huge chest, he mused awhiie. 
George waited. 

"Listen, bhoy!" A terrible earnestne* crept into 
the soft voice. "I'll tell ye th' Ule. . . . -Twas up at 
th' Chflkoot Pass - in the gold rush av '98. To- 

gether -e was - Yorkey an' meself _ stationed the«^ 
undher ould Bobby Belcher. Wan night - Mother av 
God! wiH I iver forghet ut? Bitther cowld is th' 
Yukon, lad; th' like av ut yu' here in Alberta du not 
know. Afther tu crazy lost cheeckacos we had been 
that day. We found thim- frozen. ... A blizzard 
had shprung up, but we shtrapped th' stiffs on th' sled 
an' mushed ut oursilves tu save th' dogs. 

"I am a big man, an' shtrong but Yorkey was 

th' betther man av us tu that night - havin less weight 
tu pack. I was all in - dhrowsy, an' wanted tu give 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 73 

up th' ghost an' shleep_an' shleep Nigh unto 

death I was. . . ." 

The murmuring voice died away. A shudder ran 
through the great frame at the remembrance, while 
the hand clutching the bottle trembled violently Un- 
consciously Redmond shook with him; for the horror 
Slavin was living over again just then enveloped his 
listener also. 

"But Yorkey," he continued "wud not let me lie 

down God 1 how that man did put his fishts an' 

mucklucks tu me an' pushed an' shtaggered wid me 
afther th' dogs, beggin' an' cursin an' prayin' an callin' 
me names that ud fairly make th' dead relaUon av a 

man rise up out av their graves Light-headed he 

got towards th' ind av th' thrail, poor chap! shoutin' 
dhrill-ordhers an' Injia naygur talk, an' singin' great 
songs an' chips av poethry - th' half av which I misre- 
mimber — excipt thim-thim wurrds he said this 
night. '"Shaint Agnus Eve," ' he calls ut. Over an' 
over he kept repeathin' thim as he helped me shtag- 
gerin' along. . . 'God I' cries he. betune cursin' me an' 
th' dogs an' singin' -Shaint Agnus Eve' — 'Qh, help us 
this night! let us live, God! ... oh, let us live! - 
this poor bloody Oirishman an' me! . .'" 






74 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

The sergeant's head was thrown ba^>k now, gazing 
full at the evening star the n>oonbeam's shining upon 
his upturned, powerful face. Cold as was the night 
Redmond could see glistening beads of sweat on his 
forehead. As one himself under the spell of the fear of 
death, the younger man silently watched that face - 
fascinated. It was calm now, with a great and kindly 
peace. Slowly the gentle voice took up the tale anew 

"V.e made ut, bhoy - th' Post - or nigh tu ut 
in th' break av th' dawn. ... For wan av th' dogs 

yapped an' they come out an' found us in th' snow. 
Yorkey, wid his arrums round th' neck av me — as'if 
he wud shtill dhrag me on. . . . an' cryin' upon th' 
mother that bore urn. . . . Ta men -in damned bad 
shape -tu s' tiffs. ... an' but three dogs lift out av 

th' six-team we'd shtarted wid So -now ye know 

lad! ... Fwhat think ye? . . ." 

What George thought was: "Greater love hath no 
man than this." What he said was: "He's an English- 
man, isn't he?" 

Slavin nodded. "Comes of a mighty good family tu 
they say, but 'tis little he iwer cracks on hmself 'bout 
thim. Years back he hild a commission in some cavalry 
reg'mint in Injia, but he got broke -over a woman 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 75 

I fanc3. He^ knocked about th' wurrld quite a piece 
-nee tl«n. Eyah! he tallcs av some c^re parts he's 
been ^ Fvvhat doin7 Lord knows. Been up an- 
down the ladder soce ., ..« outfit - sarjint one week 
-full buck private n«t. Yeh know th' way these 
gmthlemm-rankers run amuck?" 

'"How does he get away with .. every time-" q«ried 
Redmond. "Hasn't any civilian ever reported hin.^ 
the old man?" ^'i^ ut 

"Vas! wance-an' 'Father,' th' ould rapparee' he 
went ior me baldh^ded for not reporthin' uTtu " ' 
W:th a sort of miserable heartiness Slavin curbed 

sis I r""'"- '"'"^ -' ^^" ^- 

tol .' "" •" "^"^ ^ "^"^y --Pe. an' ivry 

to.m. sez he, wid his ginthlemin's ^n,ii.: .^urke- Z 

ye U,ry an' overlook it, ould ma„- ... Eyah ;^" 
-ghty quare. For some rayson he seems tu hate 1^ 

tZ r B-T '""' '--' *'-' *' -" -^ 

wlv I„7. :""'""" ^"^^P^ here, any. 

way. '"/what fashion he puts th' wind up thim 

do not know: they will not talk, out av o2 

^.ndness av heart an' rispict for m'ese.f, ^ 

But -a few days here, an' bingo: -they apply tr 



I 



iu 






76 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

thransfer. Now ye know ivrythin'. bhoy-fwhat 
I am up against, an' fwhy I will not 'can' Yorkey 
Yeve a face that begets thrust-do not bethray ut 
but thry an' hilp me. Bear wid Yorke as best ye can 
- dwilmmt an' all - for my sake, will yeh?" 

Not devoid of a certain simple dignity was the grim, 
rugged face that turned appealingly to the younger 
man's m the light of the moon. 

And Redmond, smiling inscrutably into the deep-set, 
g^ittenng eyes, answered as simply: "l will. Sergeant! " 
He dechned an offer. "Nemoyah, (No) thanks, I've 
had enough." ' 

For some unaccountable reason, Slavin smiled also. 

Se lefM S"' "'" ''"' "''^'''^ ^^Se's, while 
the left descnbed an arc heavenwards. Came a throaty 
gurgle, a careless swing of the arm, and - 

"Bt lay hike a warrior latin' hi, rist 
Wtd kts-~ 

"I misrlmimber th' tail-ind av ut," sighed Sergeant 
Slavin, " Tis toime we turned in." 

r= silence they re-entered the detachment. Yorke 

^y,^" ""^""''"'' '"'''°^' ^"'' '"^-^r^e, lay' 
stretched out upon his cot sleeping heavi.y, his flushed 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 77 

reckless high-bred face pillowed on one outflung ann 

Above h™, silent guardians of his r«t, his gro^Te* 

nu. u.e Of pri.^ gleamed duskily in tl,; la^^h^" 

Into Redmond's mind - sunk into a deep oMvton of 

dreamy, chaotic thought -came a^ain si, • . . 

"ShH.^.,.!,- . , came agam Slavm's words: 

Shtudyth:mp:cthures,bhoyUn',byan'Iargeyehave 
th'manhimsilf!" 

drafted a ridiculously disturbing dream. That of 
actually witnessing the terrible scene of the long^lead 

ownT ?r.'"°' '''^■" «°^' --"'-« -^ his 
own hand the three princes of Oude. 

Inshalla! it was done-there! there! against the 
cart, amidst the gorgeous setting of Indian smiset 
^d gleaming minaret. "Deen, Ceen! Futteh 
Moka^medr came a dying scream upon the last shot 
-the smoking carbine was Jeri^ed back to the "re- 

ErLT"'"'"' "^^ ^'^"^t-turbaned, scarlet-sashed 
English officer gazed with ruthless satisfaction at his 
treacherous victims then, turning sharply, faced him 

And lo! to Redmond it seemed that the stem in- 
tolerant, recklessly-handsomt countenance he locked 
upon bore a striking resemblance to the face of Yorke 



CHAPTER IV 

Bis steeds to water at >■'■■ • springs — 

And — "This to me'' he said,— 
'Hark I hark I the krk .t Heimtn's Gam stssfs. 



EARLY on the morrow it came to pass that 
Sergeant Slavin, cooking breakfast for all hands, 
heard Yorke's voice uplifted in song, as that 
worthy made his leisurely toilet. He shot a slightly 
bilious glance at Redmond, who, "Morning Stables" 
finished, lounged nearby. 

"Hear um?" he snorted enviously. "Singin'l singin'l 
— forever singin'l — e>i»h! sich nonsince, tu." 

But, to George, who possessed a musical ear, the 
ringing tenor sounded rather airily and sweetly — 

"Hark I hark I the lark at Heaven's Gate sints. 

And Phoebus 'gins arise, 
Bk steeds to water at those sprinis — " 

"Fwhat yez know 'bout that?" Slavin forked 
viciously at the bacon he was frying. "Blarney my 
sowl! an' him not up for 'Shtables' at alll . . ." 
78 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"With ev'rytkmi that pretty it: — 
My lady sweet, arise I arise I 
Uy lady sweet, arise 1" 



79 



"My lady shweet!" — Slavin snorted unutterable 
things. 

Yawning, the object of his remarks sauntered into 
the kitchen just then, and, deeming the occasion now 
to be a fitting one, the sergeant introduced his two 
subordinates to each other. 

Yorke, with a bleak nod and handshake, swept the 
junior constable with a swiftly appraising glance. As 
frigidly was his salutation returned. Redmond re- 
marked the regular features, suggestive rather of the 
ancient Norman type, the thin, curved, defiant nostrils 
and dark, arching eyebrows. The face, with its inde- 
finable stamp of birth and breeding was handsome 
enough in its patrician mould, but marred some- 
what by the Ihies of cynicism, or dissipation, 
round the sombre, reckless eyes and intolerant 
mouth. He had a cool, clear voice and a 
whimsical, devil-may-care sort of manner that 
was apparently natural to him, as was also a certain 
languid grace of movement. He possessed an irritating 
mannerism of continually elevating his chin and dilat- 



«o THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

i^smB. Beyond a slight flush he showed little trace 
of h« previous night's dissipation 
"Where do you hail from?" he enquired of Geor« 

< On'^r r^r °"^ ^' '^■^^^^ later. ' 

Ontario," replied George laconically, "„y people 
are farmers down there." '^^ 

For a moment Yorke's arched brows lifted in puasled 
sun)rise-came a repetition of his offensive snlll 
--nensm; and he stared pointedly away aga ' j 
w^ difficult to be more insulting in dumb Lw 

towardly. I a„ go,„g to hate this fellow" he thought 

Oh I don't knowl" Wearily, George shoved his 
^ deep mto his pockets and leant back in his chair. 

lete^ i°-r-^°"°*^- ^--atMcGiUfor 
n« tones. I fell down on my exams ... ran amuck 
wrth the wrong bunch an' all that -an' ^ an' 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 8, 

ki»d of made a mess of things I gue„. . . . Wen^ 
broke - came West. . . . That's why » 

W.th a forlori. sort of forced grin he gazed back at 
his mterlocutor. York? ..nt.-.«j- .u 

,. ^ " , *""'*• «»nheedmg the conversation 

contmued h.s breakfast as if he were alone 

•H-mm!" grunted Slavin, summing up the situaUon 
with native simplicity, "That's ut, eh? -but for 2 
ye have th' spache an' manners av a gin,h,«nan 1 
ranker somehow - somehow I misdoubt ye're a wav 
back waster like Misther Yorkey here < " 

That hardened "ginthleman ," absently sipping his 
llcZ 7 %^^^""^-''--e, patient U'af 

3 the t ""^-^"''••"« — d to exist be- 

tween the two men. Redmond, musing upon the 
paJhetica„y.so.did drama he had witnessed^ rma^y 
hours since, relapsed into a reverie of speculation. 
The s, ence was suddenly broken by the sharp trill 

Is-ta etr "^i" "°^^ '^'"''^'^^^ f-^ *e 
mess tawe and answered it 

NickTn/"L'"'"" ^'P"''"'' ^-'='-1. right 
Oh hIm :;^ ' •"'" ■ '°"'y ^"' ^••''' "°" So long! 
Oh,h 1 o N.,, May th'divilniver know yeV 

y" S ^e t' '" 'r ■■" "■^^' ^-'^^^ - OK tLk 
yez! Sametuyezl Weill . . . solongl" 



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82 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Hobo worryin' Nick Lee at Cow Run. Scared av fire 
in th' livery-shtable. Go yu', Yorkey!" He eyed George 
a moment in curious speculation. "Yu' had betther go 
along tu, Ridmond! Exercise yez harse an' " — he lit 
his pipe noisily — "learn th' lay av th' thrails." He 
turned to the senior constable. "If ye can lay hould av 
th' J.P. there, get this shtiff committed an' let Ridmond 
take thrain wid um tu th' Post. Yu' return wid th' 
harsesl" 

"Why can't Redmond nip down there on a way- 
freight and do the whole thing?" said Yorke, a trifle 
sulkily. "It seems rot sending two men mounted for 
one blooming hobo." 

"Eyah!'" murmured Slavin with suspicious mildness, 
" 'tis th' long toime since I have used me shtripes tu 
give men undher me wan ordher twice." 

Yorke flashed a slightly apprehensive glance at his 
superior's face. Then, without another word, he 
reached for his side-arms, bridle, and fur-coat. He 
knew his man. 

Redmond followed suit and they adjourned to the 
stable. 

"I saw that beggar yesterday — on my way up," 
remarkad George, ill-adviaedly. 



H'i 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 83 

Yorke stared. "The hell you did! ... why didn't 
you vag him then?" he retorted irritably. 

Bursting with silent wrath at the "choke-off," with 
difficulty Redmond held his peace. In silence they 
saddled up and leading the horses out prepared to 
mount. Yorke swung up on the splendid, mettled black 
— "Parson." He had an ideal cavalry seat, and as with 
an easy grace he gently controlled his impatient horse, 
with an inscrutable, mask-like countenance he watched 
Redmond and the sorrel "Fox." 

With toe in the leather-covered stirrup the latter 
reached for the saddle-horn. Poor George! fuming 
inwardly over one humiliation caused him shortly to be 
the recipient of another. Too late to his preoccupied 
mind came Slavin's warning of the day before. 

Like a flash the sorrel whirled to the "off-side" and 
Redmond, swung off his balance, revolved into space 
and was pitched on his hands and knees in the snow. 
Fortunately his foot had slipped clear of the stirrup. 
In this somewhat ignominious position dizzily he heard 
Yorke's mocking tones: 

"What are the odds on Fox, bookie? ... I'd like 
a few of those dollars when you've quite finished 
picking them all up." 



84 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Wiih an almost superhuman effort the young feUow 
controlled himself once more as he arose. Not lightly 
had he given a promise. Silently he dusted the snow 
from his uniform and strode over to where the sorrel 
awaited him. The horse had made no attempt to run 
away; apparently being an old hand at the game. It 
now stood eying its dupe, with Lord knows what mirth 
tickling its equine brain. 

Slipping the "nigh" rein through the saddle-fork 
then back to the cheek-strap again, George snubbed 
Fox's head towards him, making it impossible for the 
horse to whirl to the "off" as before. Warily and 
quietly he then swung into the saddle and the two men 
set off. 

A few yards from the front of the detachment Yorke 
suddenly pulled up and, dismounting, felt around in the 
snow at the base of a well-remembered telephone-pole 
It was Redmond's hour tc jeer now, if he had been 
mmdful to do so. But another usurped that privilege. 

A queer choking sound made tliem both turn round 
Slavm, his grim face registering unholy mirth, lounged 
m the doorway. 

"Fwhat ye lukkin for, Yorkey?" 

"Oh, nothing!" came that gentleman's answer. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 85 

"Ye'U find ut in th' botUe thin." 

Insult was added to injury by the sergeant casually 
plucking that arUcle from it's "rist" and chucking it 
over. 

^^ Yorkers face was a study. "Oh! » cried he dismaDy, 
"what witi . . . give three rousing cheersl" . He 
mounted once more. "Well! there's no denying you are 
one hell of a sergeant!" 

That worthy one grinned at him toleranUy. "Get 
yez gone!" he spat back, "an' du not linger tu play 
craps on th' thrail either — th' tu av yez!" 

Long and grimly, with his bald head sunk between 
his huge shoulders, he gazed after the departing riders. 
"Eyah! 'tis best so!" he murmured softly, "a show- 
down - wid no ould shtiff av a >com Uke meself 

tu butt in An', onless I am mistuk that same will 

come this very morn, from th'luksavthinps. . . . Sind 
th' young wan is as handy wid his dhooks as Brankley 
sez he is! . . . Thin -an' on'y thin will there be 
peace in th' fam'Iy." 

He re-lit his pipe and, shading his eyes from the 
snow-glare focussed them on two rapidly vanishing 
black specks. "I wud that I cud see ut!" he sighed 
plaintively, "I wud that I cud see ut!" 



86 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

It was a glorious day, sunny and clear, with the 
temperature sufficiently low to prevent the hard-packed 
snow from ba'Jing up the horses' feet. The trail ran 
fairly level along a lower shelf of the timber-lined foot- 
hiUs, which on their right hand sloped gradually to the 
barks of the Bow River in a series of rolling "downs." 
Sharply outlined against the blu. ther the Sou' West- 
ern chain of the mighty "Rockies" reared their rosily, 
white peaks in aU their morning glory — silent 
guardians of the winter landscape. 

Deep down in his soul young Redmond harboured 
a silent, dreamy adoration for the beauty of such 
scenes as this. Under different conditions he would 
have enjoyed this ride immensely. But now — with 
his mind a seething bitter chaos consequent upon his 
companion's incomprehensible behavior towards him, 
he rode in a sort of brooding reverie. Yorke was 
equally morose. Not a word had fallen from their lips 
since they left the detachment. 

Right under the horses' noses a big white jack- 
rabbit suddenly darted across the snow-banked ruts 
of the well-worn trail, pursuing its leaping erratic 
course towards a patch of brush on the~river side. 
Simultaneously the animals shied, with an inward trend, 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 87 
cannoning their respective riders together. Yorke 
reined away sharply and glared. 
"Get overl" he said curtly, "don't crowd me!" 
He spoke as a Cossack hetman might to his sotnia, 
and, at his tone and attitude, something snapped within 
Redmond. To his already overflowing cup of resent- 
ment it was the last straw. His promise to Slavin he 
flung to the winds, and it was replaced with vindictive 
but cool purpose. 

"Showdown!" he muttered imder his breath, "I 
knew it had to come! " He was conscious of a feeling 
of vast relief. Aloud he responded, blithely and rudely, 
"Oh! to hell with yo«/" 

Yorke checked his horse with a suddenness that 
brought the animal back onto its haunches. Sitting 
square and motionless in the saddle for a moment he 
stared at George with an expression almost of shocked 
amazement; then his face became convulsed with ruth- 
less passion. 

The junior constable had pulled up also, and now 
wheeling "half-left" and lolling lazily in his saddle 
with shortened leg stared back at his enemy with an 
expression U -re was no mistaking. His debonair 
young face had altered in an incredible fashion. Al- 



88 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

though his lips were pursed up with their whistling non- 
chalance his eyes had contracted beneath scowling 
brows into mere pin-points of steel and ice. He looked 
about as docile as a young lobo wolf — cornered. 

"Ahl" murmured Yorke, noting the transformation; 
and he seemed to consider. He had seen that look on 
men's faces before. Insensibly, passion had vanished 
from his face; the bully had disappeared; and in his 
place there sat in saddle a cool, contemptuous gentle- 
man. 

"Are you talking back to me?" he said. He did not 
look astounded now — seemed rather to assume it. 

Redmond's scowlinj brows lifted a fraction. "Talk- 
ing back?" he echoed, "surel Who the devil do you 
think you're trying to come 'the Tin Man' over?" 

Reluctantly Yorke discounted his first impressions. 
Here was no self-conscious bravado. Warily he sur- 
veyed George for a moment — the cool appraising 
glance of the ring champion in his corner scanning his 
challenger — then, swinging out of the saddle, he 
dropped his lines and began to unbuckle his spurs. • 

There was no mistaking his actions. Redmond 
followed suit. A few seconds he looked dubiously at his 
horse, then back at Yorke. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 89 
"Oh, you needn't be scared of Fox beating it," re- 
marked that gentieman a trifle wearily, "he'll stand as 
good as old Parson if you chuck his lines down." 

Shading his eyes from the sun-glare he took a rapid 
survey of their surroundings, then led the -vay to a 
wind-swept patch of ground, more or less bare of snow. 
Arriving thither, as if by mutual consent they flung off 
caps, side-arms, fur-coats and stable-jackets. Yorke, 
a graceful, compactly-built figure of a man, sized 
up his slightly heavier opponent with an approving 
eye, 

"You sUip good" he said carelessly. "Well! what's 
it to be? . . , 'muck' or 'muffin'?" 

"'MufBn' of rourie!" snapped Redmond angrily, 
"what d'ye take me for? -a 'rough-house meal 
ticket'?" 

"All right '■ said Yorke soothingly, "don't lose your 
temper 1" 

It may have been a shrewdly-calculated attempt to 
attain that end; and yet again it may have been only 
sheer mechanical habit that prompted him to stretch 
forth his hands in the customary salute of the ring. 

With an inarticulate exclamation of rage tiie younger 
man struck the proffered hands aside and led witii a 



h > 



».}:!( 



90 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

straight left for the other's head. Yorke blocked it 
cleverly and fell into a clinch. 

"Ahl" murmured Yorke in his antagonist's ear with 
a sinister smile, "rotten manners 1 for just that, my 
buck, I'll make you scoff 'muffin' 'till you're quite 
poorly 1" 

Working his arms cautiously, he sprang clear of the 
clinch, then, rushing his man and feintin.J! for the ribs, 
he rocked Redmond's head back mth two terrific left 
and right hooks to the jaw. 

The jarring sting of the punches, although dazing 
him slightly, brought Redmond to iiis senses, as he 
realized how vulnerable his momentary loss of 
tamper had rendered him. He now braced him- 
self with dogged determination and, covering up 
warily, circled his adversary with clever foot-work. 
Yorke, tearing in again was met with one of 
the cruelest jabs he had ever known — flush 
in the mouth. Gamely he retaliated with a sting- 
ing uppercut and a right swing which, coming home on 
Redmond's cheek-bone, whirled him off his balance and 
sent him sprawling. 

Dazed, but not daunted, he scrambled to his feet 
Yorke, blowing upon his knuckles with all the air of 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 91 

an old-time "Regency blood," waited wi'i heaving 

chest and scornful, narrowed eyes. 

"Want to elevate the sponge?" he queried sneeringly. 

No!" panted George grimly, "it was you st.-ti 

the whole rotten dirty business, and, by guml I'll fi.ish 

Dancing in and out he drew an ineffecUve left from 
his opponent and countered with a pile-driving right 
to the heart. Yorke gave vent to a groaning exclama- 
tion a„d turned pale. He spat gaspingly out of his 
mashed hps and propped Redmond off awhile- then 
suddenly springing in again he attempted to mix it' 
George was nothing loath, and the two men, standing 
toe-to-toe, slugged each other with a perfect whirlwind 
of damaging punche- to face and body. 

Even in the giddy whirl of combat, in either man's 
heart now was a wonder almost akin to respect for 
each othw's ring knowledge and gameness. It was 
not George's first bout by many, but the physical en- 
durance of Ais hard, clean-hitting Corinthian of a man 
was an astounding revelation to him; the science of the 
graceful, narrow-waisted figure v s still as quick and 
as punishing as a steel trap. 
Yorke, for h!-= part, reflected with bitter irony how 



92 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

utterly erroneous had been his primary calculations — 
how Nemesis was hard upon his heels at last in the 
guise of this relentless youngster, who fought like a 
college-bred "Charley MitchftU." 

Ding! dong! — hook, jab, uppercut, block, and 
swing; in and out, back and forth, side-stepping and 
head-work — one long exhausting round. Flesh and 
blood could not stand the pace — though it was Red- 
mond now who forced it. Neither of the men was in 
training and the long strain began to tell upon them 
both cruelly — especially upon the veteran Yorke. 
Still, with frosted hair and streaming faces, the sweat- 
soaked, bruised and bleeding combatants staggered 
against each other and strove to make play with their 
weary arms, until utter exhaustion rang the time gong. 

Gasping and s-Aaying to and fro, his puffed lips 
wreathed into a ghastly semblance of his old scornful 
smile, Yorke dropp>ed his guard and stuck out his chin. 
He mouthed and pointed to it tauntingly. In spite of 
himself, a sorry grin flickered over George's battered, 
weary young face. He mouthed back — speech was 
beyond either; sagging at the knees he reeled forward 
and his right arm went poking out in a wobbling, tm- 
certain punch 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 93 
It glanced harmlessly ovc. Yorke's shoulder, but the 
violent impact of his body sent the other heavily to 
the ground. An ineffectual struggle to mainuin his 
equilibrium and he, too, fell — face downwards, with 
his head pillowed on Vorke's heaving r'^est. 



Hi 

j 

1 

'I 



CHAPTER V 

We're poor little lambs who've lost our teny, 

Baal Baal Baal 
We're little black sheep who've gone astray, 

Baa — aa — oat 
Centlemen-rankers out on the spree, 
Damned from here to Eternity, 
Cod ha' mercy on such as we. 

Baa! Yah I Bah I 

KIFLINO 

A GREAT peace lay upon the frozen landscape — 
the deep, wintry peace of the vast, snow-bound 
Nor'West. A light breeze murmured over the 
crisping snow, and moaned amongst the pines in the 
timber-lined spurs of the foothills. High overhead in 
the sunny, dazzling blue vault of heaven a huge solitary 
hawk slowly circled with wide-spread, motionless wings, 
uttering intermittently its querulous, eerie whistle. 

Awhile the two exhausted men lay gasping for breath 
— absolutely and utterly spent. Suddenly Yorke 
shivered violently and sighed. Redmond raised him- 
self off the prostrate form of his late opponent and, 
staggering over to the pile of their discarded habili- 

94 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 95 

ments, slowly and painfully he donned his fur coat 
and cap; then, picking up Yorke's, he stumbled over to 
the latter. The senior constable was now sitting up, 
with arms drooping loosely over his knees. George 
wrapped the coat around the bowed shoulders and put 
on the cap. 

"Vc: re cold, old manl " he said simply. "We'd best 
gei .u' 'hings on now, and beat it." 

V ^^' -Ay Yorke raised his head, and, at something he 
beheld in that disfigured, but unalterably-handsome 
face, Redmond's heart smote him. 

Often in the past he had fondly imagined himself 
nursing implacable, absolutely undying hatreds; brood- 
ing darkly over injuries received in fancy or reality, 
planning dire and utterly ruthless revenge, etc. But,' 
deep, deep down in his boyish soul he knew it to be only 
a dismal failure — that he could not keep it up. His 
was an impulsive, generous young heart — equally 
quick to forgive an injury as to resent one. Now in 
his pity and misery he could have cried — to see his 
erstwhile enemy so hopelessly broken in body and 
spirit. 

Therefore it did not occur to him that it was sheer 
sentimental absurdity on his part now to drop on one 



96 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

knee and put his arras around that shivering, pride- 
broken form. 

"Yorkey!" he mumbled huskily, "old man! . . . 
Yor — " 

He choked a bit, and was silent. 

Waveringly, a skinned-knuckled, but sinewy, shapely 
hand crept out and gently ruffled Redmond's curly 
auburn hair. Vaguely he heard a voice speaking to 
him. Could that tired, kind, whimsical voice belong 
to Yorke? It said: "Reddy, my old son! . . . we're 
still in the ring, anyway. . . . Seems — do what we 
would or could — we couldn't poke each other 
out. . . ." 

Came a long silence; then: "If ever a man was sorry 
for the rotten way he's acted, it's surely me right 

now. . . . Got d d good cause to be p'raps. ... I 

handed it to you about the sponge . . . egad! I well- 
nigh came chucking it up myself — later. My colonial 
oath! but you're the cleverest, gamest, hardest-hitting 
young proposition I've ever ruffled it out with! . . . 
Where'd you pick it up? Who's handled you?" 

George slowly rose to his feet. "Man named Scholes 
— down East" he answered. He eyed Yorke's face 
ruefully and, incidentally felt his own, "I used to do 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 97 
a bit with the gloves when I was at McGill. Talking 
about sponges 1 — I only wish we had one now to 
chuck up — in tangible fonn." 

He abstracted the other's handkerchief and, rolling 
it with his own into a pad dabbed it in the snow. Yorke 
winced. "Hold still, old thing I" said Redmond, "we'll 
have to clean off a bit ere we hit the giddy trail again." 

For some minutes he gently manipulated the pad. 
"There I you don't look too bad now. Have a go at me ! " 

Figuratively, they licked each other's wounds awhile. 
Yorke had grown very silent. Chin in hands and rock- 
ing very slightly to and fro, all huddled up in his fur 
coat, he gazed unseeingly into the beyond. His face 
was clouded with such hopeless, bitter, brooding misery 
that it worried Redmond. He guessed it to be some- 
thing far deeper than the memory of their recent con- 
flict. He strove to arouse the other. 

"Talk about game cocks!" he began lightly. "Ten 
years ago, say! you must have been a corker — regular 
'Terry McGovern'." 

"Eh ?" Yorke's far-away eyes stared at him vaguely. 
"I was in India then. Army light-weight champion in 
my day. Slavin wasn't joshing much at breakfast, by 
gum I . , . Now we're here! . . . We're a bright 



98 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

pair! " He made as though to cast snow upon his head, 
"Ichabodl Ichabod! our glory has departed!" 

He lifted up his tenor voice, chanting the while he 
rocked — 

"Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree. 
Damned from here to Eternity, 
God ha' mercy on such as we, 
Baal Yah I Bah I" 

Redmond flinched and raised a weakly protesting 
hand. "Don't, old man!" he implored miserably, 
"don't! what's the — " 

"Eh ! " queried Yorke brutally — rocking — "does it 
hurt?" 

"// the home we never write to, and the oaths we 

never keep, 
AndaUwe — " 

"No! no! no! Yorkey!" George's voice rose to a 
cry, "not that! ... quit it, old man! . . . that's one 

of the most terrible things Kipling ever wrote 

terrible because it's so absolutely, utterly hope- 
less. ..." 

"Well, then ! " said Yorke slowly — 

"Can you blame us if we soak ourselves in beer?" 

"It wasn't beer," muttered Redmond absently, "it 
was whi6key. Slavin and I draak it." With an effort 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 99 

he strove to arouse himself out of the despondency 
that he himself had fallen into. 

"Listen 1 ... Oh 1 quit that d d rocking, 

Yorkeyl . , . Listen nowl we've put up a mighty 
good scrap against each other — we'll call that 
a draw — let's put up another against our — 

well! we'll call it our rotten luck . . . D n 

it all, old man, we're not 'down an' outs' 
doing duty in this outfit — the best military police 
corps in the world! . . . Let's both of us quit squalling 
this eternal 'nobody loves me' stuff! This isn't any 
slobbery brotherly love or New Jerusalem business, or 
anything like that, either. I'm not a bloomin' mission- 
ary!" He qualified that assertion unnecessarily to 
prove it. "But let's stick together and back each 
other up — just us two and old man Slavin — make it 
a sort of 'rule of three.' We can have a deuce of a 
good time on this detachment then! . . ." 

He spoke hotly, eagerly, with boyish fervour, his 
soul in his eyes. 

Yorke remained silent, with averted eyes. That im- 
ploring, wistful, bruised young countenance was al- 
most more than he could stand. George, dropping on 
one knee beside him put a tremulous hand on the 



loo THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

senior constable's shoulder. "What's wrong, Yorkey?" 
he queried. He shook the bowed shoulder gently. 
"What's made you consistently knock every third buck 
that's been sent here? 'till they got fed up, and trans- 
ferred? . . . They tried to put the wind up me about 
it at the Post. What's bitin' you? I don't seem to get 
your angle at all!" 

"Oh, I don't know!" Yorke coughed an J spat 
drearily. "Kind of rum reason, you'll think. Long 
story — too long — dates back. Listen then! Ten 
years back, in the pride of my giddy youth, I held a 

Junior Sub's commission in the Lancers — in 

India. This is just a synopsis of my case, mind! . . . 
Well! the regiment was lying at Rawal Pindi, and — I 
guess I kind of ran amuck there — got myself into a 
rotten esclandre — entirely my own fault I'll admit: 

Man is fire, and Woman h tow, 

And the Devil, he comes and begins to blow — 

the same old miserable business the world's fed up with. 
Since then seems I've kind if made a mess of things. 
Burke Slavin's about right — his estimate of me." 
He sighed with bitter, gloomy retrospection. "I've 
always had a queer, intolerant sort of temperament. 
If I'd lived in the days of the Indian Mutiny I guess 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED loi 

I'd have been in 'Hodson's Horse'." (Redmond started, 
remembering his curious dream.) "He was a man after 
my own heart," Yorke continued slowly, "resourceful, 
slashing sort of beggar ... he ruffled it with a high 
hand. Bold and game as Sherman, or Paul Jones, but as 
ruthless as Graham of Claverhouse. He put the ever- 
lasting fear into the rebels of Oude — something like 
Cromwell did in Ireland. My old Governor served 
through the Mutiny — he's told me stories of him. My 
God!" 

A He drew his fur coat closer round him. "Well!" — 

Redmond watched the sombre profile — "as I was say- 
ing ... I 'muckered'. . , , «ince then, with the years, 
I guess I've been climbing down the ladder of illusions 
till I'm right in the stoke-hole, and Old Nick seems to 
grin and whisper: 'As you were! my cashiered Sub.— 
As you were!' every time I chuck a brace and try to 
climb up again. How's that for a bit of cheap 
cynicism?" — the low, bitter laugh was not good to 
hear — "Man!" — the brooding eyes narrowed — 
"I've sure plumbed the depths — knocking around, 
with the right to live. Port Said, Buenos Aires, Shang- 
hai. . . . I've certainly travelled. Some day I'll throw 
the book at you. Now — substance and ambition gone 



102 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
by the board long ago, and mighty little left of prin- 
ciple I guess — I am — what I am — everything except 
a prodigal, or a remittance-man — I never worried 
them at Home — that way. . . ." 

He spoke with a sort of reckless earnestness that 
moved his hearer more than that individual cared to 
show. Redmond felt it was useless to offer mere con- 
ventional sympathy in a case like this. He did the 
next best thing possible — he remained silently atten- 
tive and let tl.t other run on. 

"You take three men now — stationed in the same 
detachment," resumed Yorke wearily, "by gum! they're 
thrown together mighty close when you come to think 
of it. I;"s different to the Post, where there's a crowd. 
Life's too short to start in explaining minutely just 
what that difference is. Fact remains I ... to get 
along and pull together they've got to like each other 
— have something in common — give and take. 

Otherwise the situation becomes d d trying, and 

trouble soon starts in the family." 

"By what divine right I should consider myself 
qualified to — to — Oh! shut up, you young idiotl 
. . ." Redmond, forehead pressed into the speaker's 
shoulder, giggled hj-sterically in spite of himself — 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 103 

"Shut upl d'you hear? or I'll knock your silly block 
off I" 

The two bodies shook with their convulsive mer- 
riment. "You ca:i't do it! old thing," came George's 
smothered rejoinder, "and you know darned well you 
can't — now 1 ... Go on, you bloomin' Hodsonl — 
proceed ! " 

Yorke gave vent to a good-natured oath. "Hodson? 
... you do me proud, my buckl . . , Well now' — 
this 'three men in a boat' business! . . . I'll admit 
I 'rocked' it with Crampton. I virtually abolished 
him because — oh 1 I couldn't stick the beggar al; all. 
I simply couldn't make a pal of him. He was fairly 
good at police work, but a proper cad, in my opinion. 
Always swanking about the palatial residence he'd left 
behind in the Old Country. He called it ' 'is 'ome' at 
that. Typical specimen of the middle-class snob. 
Followed Taylor. Thick-headed, serious-minded sort 
of fool. Had great veneration for 'his juty.' No real 
knowledge of the Criminal Code, and minus common 
sense, yet begad! the silly beggar tried to be more 
regimental that the blooming Force is Itself. I sys- 
tematically put the wind up to him 'till he got cold feet 
and quit." 



I i 






104 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Redmond recalled the fact that Taylor had been his 
predecessor. "Followed I" he echoed mockingly, look- 
ing up at his handiwork. 

Yorke, with a twisted smile glanced down at the 
bruised, but debonair young face. Benevolently he 
punched its owner in the back. "Followed ... a cer- 
tain young fellow, yclept 'Nemesis'," he said, "I sized 
you up for one of these smart Alecks — first crack out 
of the box, and egad! I think I'm about right." 

Said Redmond, "How about our respected sergeant? 
we seem to have forgotten him." 

"Slavin?" ejaculated the senior constable; and was 
silent awhile. There was no levity in him now. Slowly 
he resumed, "I guess as much as it's humanly possible 
for two men to knc / each other — down to the bed- 
rock, it's surely Burke Slavin and I. Should too, the 
years we've been together. The good old beggar 1 . . . 
We slang each other, and all that . . . but there's too 
much between us ever to resent anything for long." 

"I know," said Redmond simply, "he told me himself 
— last night." 

"Eh?" queried Yorke sharply. "My God! . . . 
Tchkk!" he clucked, and burying his hands in his face 
he gave vent to a fretful oath. "My God ! " he repeated 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 105 

miserably, "I'd forgotten — last night! ... 1 sure 
must have been 'lit' ... to come that over old 
Burke. . . .» 

"You sure werel" remarked Redmond brutally. 
"Keats' 'St. Agnes' Eve'! ... Oh, Lord!" ... He 
drew in his breaili with a sibilant hiss, "There seems 
something — S( mething devilish about — " 

'I know! I know!" breathed Yorke tensely, "what 
. . . you mean." His haggard eyes implored Red- 
mond's. "No! no! never again ... I swear it. . . ." 

There came a long, painful silence. "See here; 
look!" began Yorke suddenly. He stopped and sur- 
veyed Georgt a trifle anxiously. "Mind! ...I'm not 
trying to justify myself but — get me right about this 
now. Don't you ever start in making a mistake about 
Slavin — blarney and all. No, Sir! I tell you when 
old Burke runs amok in those tantrums he's a holy 
fright. He'd kill a man. Might as well run up against 
a gorilla." 

A vision of the huge, sinister, crouching figure 
seemed to rise up in Redmond's mind — the great, 
clutching, simian hands. 

"In India," continued Yorke, "we'd say he'd got a 
touch of the 'Dulalli Tap.' The man doesn't know his 



io6 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

own strength. I was taking an awful chance — getting 
his goat like that last night. It's a wonder he didn't 
kill me. He's man-handled me pretty badly at times. 
Oh, well! I guess it's been coming to me all right. 
Neither of us has ever dreamt of going squalling to the 
Orderly-ioom over our . . . differ, nces. I don't think 
Bu 's ever taken the trouble to 'peg' a man in his 
life. Not his way. 'I must take shteps ! ' says he, and 
'I will take shtepsl ' and when he starts in softly rubbing 
those awful great g-ub-hooks he calls hands — to- 
gether! . . . well! you want to look out." 

Lighting a cigarette he resumed reminiscently: 
"They were a tough crowd to handle up in the Yukon. 
The devil himself 'd have been scared to butt in to that 
'Soapy Smith' gang; but, by gum! they were afraid of 
Slavin. He doesn't drink much now, but he did then 
- mighty few that didn't — up there — and I tell you, 
wen our own fellows got a bit leery of him -hen he 
used Irt start in 'trailing his coat.' They were glad 
when ht: 'came outside.' That's one of the reasons 
why he's slioved out on a pra'rie detachment. He 
wouldn't do at all for the Post. He never reports in 
there more than he has to — dead scared of the old 
man, who's about the only soul he is afraid ol on earth. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 107 
The O.C.'s awful sarcasUc with him at times, and that 
get's Burlie's goat properly. He sure does hate getting 
a choke-off from the old man." 

He grinned guiltily. "That's why he prefers to 
wash tiie family linen strictiy at home — what littie 
Uiere is. But, sarcasm and all, the O.C. gives him 
credit for being onto his job — and it's coming to him, 
too. He's quick acting and he's got tiie Criminal Code 
well-nigh by heart. Regular blood-hound when he 
starts in working up a case." 

He yawned, and rising stiffly to his feet stretched 
hr> -ramped limbs. "We-11! Reddy, my giddy young 
hopeful I— Now we've fallen on each other's ruddy 
necks and kissed and wept and had a heart-to-heart 
talk we'll — " 

"Aw, quit making game, Yorkey! Is it a go? You 
know what I said?" 

Strangely compelling, Yorke found that bruised, 
eager, wistful young face, with its earnest, honest eyes. 
"All right!" he agreed, with languid bonhomie. 
"You've certainly earned tiie office of Dictator, and, as 
I remarked — we really have quite a lot in common. 
Mind, tiiough, you don't repent of your bargain. One 
thing!" Uie curved, defiant nostrils dilated faintiy. 



io8 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Seems the world always has use for us runagates in 
one capacity. It's just the likes of us that compose the 
rank and file of most of the Empire's military police 
forces. Who makes the best M.P. man, executing duty, 
say, in a critical life-and-death hazard? The cautious, 
upright, model young man, with a tender regard for 
a whole skin and a Glorious Future? Or the poor 

devil Vi -'s lost all, and doesn't care a d n? We 

tackle the world's dangerous, dirty criminal work and 
— swank and all — Society don't want to forget it." 

He pointed to their horses who were playfully rear- 
ing and biting at each other in equine sport. "Look at 
old Parson and Fox tryin' to warm themselves? 
Bloomin' fine example we've set 'em. Well! allonst 
mon camarade, let's up and beat it." 



CHAPTER V 

A deed accursed I Strokes have been struck before 
By the assassin's hand, whereof men doubt 

If more of horror or disgrace they bore; 
But this foul crime, like Cain's, stands darkly out. 

THOMAS TAyLOg 

HASTILY dressing, the two policemen mounted 
and took the trail once more. Side by side 
as they rode along, in each man's heart was 
an estimate of the other vastly different from that 
with which they started out that memorable morning. 
Yorke, his spirits now fully recovered, became quite 
companionably communicative, relating picturesque, 
racy stories of India, the Yukon, and other countries 
he had known. George, in receptive mood, listened 
in silent appreciation to one of the most fascinating 
raconteurs he had ever met in his young life. Inci- 
dentally he felt relieved as he noted his comrade now 
tactfully avoiding morbid egotism — dwelling but 
lightly upon the milestones that marked his chequered 
career. 

The bodily stiffness and soreness, consequent upon 
109 



no THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

their recent bout, was now well-nigh forgotten, though 
occasionally they laughingly rallied each other as the 
sharp air stung their bruised faces. They were just 
surmounting the sununit of a long, steep grade in the 
trail. 

Said Redmond dubiously: "See here; look! I'm 
darned if I like getting the freedom of the City of 
Cow Run sportin' such a pretty mug as this! How 
many more miles to this giddy burg, old thing?" 

Yorke grinned unfeelingly. "Hard on nine miles to 
go yet. We're about half way. Isch ga bibblel . . . 
open your ditty-box and sing! you blooming whip- 
poor-will." 

"A merry heart goes all the vay. 
But a sad one tires in a mile a*; 
A — " 

The old lilt died on his lips. With a startled oath 
he reined in sharply and, shielding his eyes from the 
sun-glare, remained staring straight in front of him. 
They had just topped the crest of the rise. The east- 
ward slope showed a low-lying, undulating stretch of 
snow-bound country, sparsely dotted with clumps of 
poplar and alder growth, through which the trail 
wound snake-like into the fainter distance. South- 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED iii 

wards, below the rolling, shelving benches, lay the 
river, a steaming black line, twisting interminably be- 
tween frosty, bush-fringed banks. 

No less startled than his companion, Redmond 
pulled up also and stared with him. Not far distant 
on the trail ahead of them they beheld a dark, 
ominous-looking mass, vividly conspicuous against the 
snow. Suddf-ly the object moved and resolved it- 
self unmistakably into a horse struggling to rise. For 
an instant they saw the head and the fore-part of 
the body lift, and then flop prone again. Close 
against it lay another dark object. 

"Horse down ! " snapped Yorke tersely. "Hell ! " he 
added, "looks like a man there, tool come on 
quick!" 

Responding to a shake of the lines and a fierce 
thrust of the spurs, their horses leapt forward and 
they raced towards their objective. 

"Steady! steady!" hissed Yor checking his 
mount as they drew near the fallen animal and its 
rider, "pull Fox a bit. Red ! Mustn't scare the horse ! " 
Slackening into a walk, they flung out of saddle, 
dropped their lines, crouched, and crept warily for- 
ward. The horse, a big, splendid seal-brown animal. 



112 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

had fallen on its right side, with its off fore-leg 
plunged deep in a snow-filled badger-hole. The body 
cf the man lay also on the off-side with one leg under 
his mount. The stiffened form was a ghastly object 
to behold, being literally encased in an armour-like 
shell of frozen, claret-coloured snow. 

At the approach of the would-be rescuers the poor 
brute whinnied pitifully and made another ineffec- 
tual attempt to rise. Yorke flung himself onto the 
head and held it down, while George dived frantically 
for the man's body, and tugged until he had got the 
leg from under. 

"Hung up! by God!" gasped the former, "his foot's 
well-nigh through the stirrup!" 

Redmond, ex-medical student, made swift examina- 
tion. "Dead!" he pronounced with finality, "Good 
God! dead as a herring! The man's been dragged 
and kicked to death!" He niade a futile effort to 
release the imprisoned foot. 

"No! no!" cried Yorke sharply, "no use doing that 
if he's dead. Coroner's got to view things as they 
are." 

The horse began to struggle again painfully. Peer- 
ing down the badger-hole they could see the broken 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 113 

bone of its leg protruding bloodily through the skin. 
Yorke released one hand and reached for his gun. 

"Poor old chap!" he said, "we'll fix you. Quick 
Red! pull the body as far back as the stirrup-lega- 
deiro'll go! That'll do! There, old boy! . . ." 

And with practised hand he sent a merciful bullet 
crashing through brain and spinal cord. The hind 
legs threshed awhile, but presently, with a muscular 
quiver they stiffened and all was still. Yorke, re- 
leasing his hold struggled to his feet, and the two 
r.-^n stared pityingly at what lay before them. What 
those merciless, steel-shod hoofs had left of the head 
and the youthful body indicated a man somewhere 
in his twenties. His ice-bound outer clothing con- 
sisted of black Angora goatskin chaps and a short 
sheepskin coat. 

"Can't pkce him — like this," muttered Yorke, after 
prolonged scrutiny, "but I seem to know the horse." 

Suddenly he uttered a sharp exclamation — some- 
thing between a groan and a cry. Redmond, startled 
at a new horror apparent on the other's ghastly face, 
clutched him by the arm. 

"What's up?" he queried tensely. 

Yorke struggled to speak. "Fox!" he gasped pres- 



(I 



:i 



114 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

entiy — "this morning. ... I never told you. My 
God! —You might have got hung up like this, too." 

"No I nol Yorkey!" Redmond almost shouted the 
disclaimer, "Slavin wised me up to that trick of his 
yesterday. I forgot. It was my own fault I got 
piled like that. Forget it, old man ! I say forget it!" 

He shook the other's arm with a sort of savage 
gentleness. 

A look of vague relief dawned on Yorke's haggard 
face. "Ay, so!" he murmured, and paused with brood- 
ing indecision. "That's absolved my conscience some, 
but not altogether." 

They remained silent awhile after this. Presently 
Yorke pulled himself together and spoke briskly and 
decisively. "WJl, now! we'll have to get busy. 
Blair's place is only about three miles from here — 
nor'east — they're on the long-distance 'phone. Doc- 
tor Cox of Cow Run's the coroner for this district. 
If I can get hold of him I'll get him to come out 
right-away — and I'll notify Slavin." 

Catching up his horse he swung into the saddle. 
"I'll be back here on the jump. You stick around, 
and say, Reddy, you might as well have a dekho at 
the lay of things while you're waiting. Where he 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED iij 

came off the perch, how far he's been dragged, and 
all Uiat. Be careful though, keep well to the side and 
don t foul up the tracks. And don't get too far away 
either 1" ■" 

He galloped off and soon disappeared over a distant 
rise. Left to himself George mounted Fox and set to 
work to follow out the senior constable's instructions. 

"Well?" queried Yorke, swinging wearily out of his 
saddle an hour or so later, "How'd you make out> 
*md the place where he flopped? Rum sort of perch 
you ve got there -you look like Patience on a monu- 
ment!" 

George, seated upon the rump of the dead horse 
nodded and grunted laconic response: "Sure 'Bout 
two miles down the trail there. How'd you get along, 
Yorkey? Did you raise Slavln and the coroner?" 
'-Got Slavin all hunkadory," said the senior con- 
stable briefly, "he should be here soon, now. Dr 
Cox'd just left for Wilson's, two miles this side of 
Cow Run. They're on the 'phone, too; so I left word 
there for h.m to come on here right away." He seated 
himself alongside the other. 
Awhile they carried on a desultory, more or less 



ii6 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

speculative conversation anent the fatality, until they 
grew morbidly weary of contemplating the poor 
broken body. Yorke slid off the dead horse suddenly. 
"Wish Slavin were here!" he said, "let's take a dekho 
from the top of the rise, Reddy, see'f we can see 
him coming. I'm getting cold sitting here." 

Redmond, notiiing Icdtii, complied. Mounting, they 
turned back to the summit of the ridge. Reaching it, 
the jingle of bells smote their ears, and they espied 
the Police cutter approaching them at a rapid pace. 

"Like unto Jehu, the son of Nimshi!" murmured 
Yorke, "he's sure sprin^'ng old T and B up the 
grade." 

Sergeant Slavin pulled up his smoking team along- 
side his two mounted subordinates. "So ho, bhoys!" 
was his greeting, "fwhat's this bizness?" 

Yorke rapidly acquainted him with all the details. 
At one point in his narration he had occasion to turn 
to George: "That's how it was, Reddy?" And the 
latter replied, "That's about tiie lay of it, Yorkey." 

The sergeant listened, but absentiy. To them it 
did not seem exactiy to be an occasion for levity; 
but they could have sworn tiiat, behind an exaggerated 
grimness of mien, he was striving to suppress some 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 117 

inward mirth, as his deep-set Irish eyes roved from 
face to face. 

"Yez luk as if yez had been hung up an' dhragged 
tu — th' pair av yez," he remarked casually. 

Remembrance smote the two culprits. They ex- 
changed guilty glances and swallowed the home-thrust 
in silence. 

Slavin clucked to his team. "Walk-march, thin!" 
said he. 

Wheeling sharply about, they started down the trail 
again, the cutter following in their wake. If their con- 
sciences would have permitted them to glance back 
they would have remarked their superior's face regis- 
tering unholy delight. 

Out of the corner of his mouth Redmond shot, 
tensely, "Dye think he — " 

"Oh!" broke in Yorke resignedly, sotto voce. "You 
can't fool him I . . . Isch ga bibble, anyway!" 

"Yorkey!" an' "Reddy!" that worthy was mum- 
bling to himself — over and over again, "Yorkey!" 
an' "Reddy!" " 'Tis so they name each other — now! 
Blarney me sowl! 'Tis come about! Fifty-fifty, tu 
— from th' mugs av thim. Peace, perfect peace, in 
th' fam'ly at last! Eyah! I wud have given me 



ii8 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

month's pay-cheque for a ring-side seat." He sighed 
deeply. 

They reached the fatal spot. Slavin, his levity gone, 
stepped out of the cutter and, retaining the lines of 
his restive team, stared long at the gruesome spectacle 
before him, with a sort of callous sadness. 

"These tu must have lain here th night," he re- 
marked, indicating the frost-rimed forms, "have yez 
sized things up? Got th' lay av fwhete ut happened?" 

Redmond made affirmative response. 

"Can you place him, Sergeant?" queried Yorke. 

"Eyahl Onless I am vastly mishtuk. Whoa, now! 
shtand still, ye fules! Fwhat yez a-scared av? Here, 
Yorkey! hold T an' B a minnut!" 

He pushed over his lines to the latter and, pro- 
ducing a pair of leather-cased brand-inspector's 
clippers, he cropped bare a circular patch on the de- 
funct horse's nigh shoulder. Shorn of the thick, seal- 
brown winter hair, the brand was now plainly visible. 
Enlighteimient came to Yorke in a flash, as he peered 
over his superior's shoulder. 

"D Two!" he gasped, "I knew I'd seen that horse 
somewhere! It's 'Duster,' Larry Blake's horse. 
Tchkk! this must be him. My God!" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 119 
"Shure!" snapped Slavin testily. "Wake up! Is 
yeh're mem'ry goin', man? One av yeh're own 
cases last month, tu!" He tenderly pocketed the 
clippers. "Yes! ye shud know him!" — dryly — 
"lukked troo th' bottom av a glass wid him often 
enough." 

"Let's see'f he's got any letters or anything in his 
pockets— to make sure!" began Redmond eagerly. 
Si-'iting the action to the word he bent down to iu- 
vestijate. But Slavin intruJed a huge arm. "Hould 
on, bhoyl" he said, with all an old policeman's fussi- 
ness over rightful procedure. "Du not touch! That 
b th' coroner's bizness. Did they not dhrill that inta 
yeh at Regina?" 

He stared thoughtfully at the corpse. "Dhrink an' 
th' divil! eyah! dhrink an' th' divil !" — sadly. 
"Larry, me pore bhoy! niver more will ye come a- 
whoopin' ut out av Cow Run on yeh 'Duster' horse 
. . . shpiflicated belike an' singin' 'Th' Brisk Young 
Man." Austerely he glanced at Yorke, " 'Tis a curse, 
his same dhrink!" 

"How do you know the poor beggar was drunk?" 
queried the latter, a trifle sulkily. "He may have 
been as sober as you or I." 



120 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Shpeak for yehsilf!" retorted Slavin dryly, "Ah I 
this must be Docthor Cos comin' now I" 

A cutter containing two men was approaching them 
rapidly. Presently it drew up alongside the group 
and a short, rotund gentleman, clad in furs, sprang 
out and came swiftly, bag in hand. He was middle- 
aged, with a gray moustache and kind, alert, dark 
eyes. Greeting the policemen quietly, he turned to 
the broken body. 

"Tchkkl good God I" He shook his head sadly. 
Redmond thought he had never seen a medical man 
so unprofessionally shocked. Presently he straight- 
ened up and turned to Slavin. "Can you identify him, 
Sergeant?" 

That worthy nodded. "Eyah! 'tis Larry Blake, 
I'm thinkin', Docthor. Best frisk him now an' see, 
I guess. Maybe he has letthers." 

Hastily diving into his bag the coroner produced a 
pair of long keen scissors and slit the short, frozen 
sheepskin coat. In the breast-pocket of the coat un- 
derneath, amongst other miscellany two old letters re- 
warded his search. He glanced at the superscriptions 
and handed them up to Slavin. 

"Larry Blake it is," he said. He felt the soggy. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED m 

pulped head. "Skull's stove righi in. Any one of 
these smashes would have sufficed to kill him." He 
clipped the hair around a ghastly gaping crevice at 
the base of the head. 

Suddenly he peered closely, uttered an exclamation, 
peered again and drew back. "Sergeant I" he said 
sharply, "D'ye see that? — No need to ask you what 
that is I" In an unbroken portion of the back of the 
skull he indicated a small, circular orifice. The trio 
craned forward and made minute examination. Slavin 
ejaculated an oath and glanced up at Yorke — almost 
remorsefully. 

"I take ut all back," he said. Meeting the coroner's 
blank, enquiring stare he added: "Booze, Docthor — 
we thought ut might be. . . . Yeh know Larry!" 

The physician of Cow Run nodded understardingly. 
Slavin bent again and made close scrutiny of the 
bullet-hole. "Back av th' head, no powdher marks!" 
He straightened up. "Docther, are ye thru? All right, 
thin! Guess we'll book up an' start in." 

Methodically they all produced note-books and en- 
tered the needful particulars. The lanky individual 
who had driven the coroner out brought forward a 
tarpaulin and spread it on the ground. With some 



122 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

difficulty the over-shoed foot was disengaged from the 
imprisoning stirrup, the body rolled in the tarpaulin 
and deposited in the rear of the doctor's cutter. The 
saddle and bridle were flung into the Police cutter. 
They then rolled the dead horse clear of the trail. 

That night the coyotes held grim, snarling carnival. 

Slavin turned to Redmond. "Ye've located th' 
place, eh?" The latter nodded. "Al! right, thin, get 
mounted, th' tu av yez, an' lead on!" 

Keeping heedfuUy wide of the broad, claret-be- 
spotted swath in the snow, the party started trailing 
back. Yorke and George rode ahead. The latter 
glanced around to make sure of being out of earshot of 
their sergeant. 

"We-U of all the hardened old cases! . . . Slavin 
sure does crown 'em!" he muttered to his comrade. 

"Hardened!" Yorke laughed grimly. "You should 
have seen him up in the Yukon! The man's been 
handling these rotten morgue cases 'till he'd qualify 
for the Seine River Police. He's got so he ascribes 
well-nigh everything now to 'dhrink an' th' divil.' " 
His face softened, "but I know the real heart of old 
Burke under it all." 

About two miles down the trail Redmond halted. 



THE LUCK OF TH^ MOUNTED 123 
"Here it isl» he said. And Le indicted an irregular 
blood-soaked, clawed-up prfch in the sr.w where the 
sanguinary swath ended. Iley dismr anted. Slavin 
drawing up alongside the coroner's cutter handed over 
his lines to the teamster. 

"Now!" said he, "let's shtart in! . . . Ye must 
have shpotted this on yeh way up, Docthor?" He 
pomted to the patch. 

The latter nodded. "Yes! we thought it must have 
happened here." 

For some few seconds, with one accord the party 
stared about them at their surroundings. The frozen 
landscape at this point presented a singularly lonely 
desolate aspect. Flat, and for the greater part abso- 
lutely bare of brush; save where from a small coulee 
some half mile to the left of the trail the tops of a 
cotton-wood clump were visible. Far to the right- 
hand, more than a mile away, stretched the first of 
the shelving benches, where the high ground sloped 
away m irregular jumps, as it were, to the river 

"Best ye shtay fwhere ye all are," cautioned the 
sergeant, " 'till I size up th' lay av things a bit I 
du not want th' thracks fouled up. H-mml let's see 
now!" He remained in deep, thoughtful silence a 



124 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

space. "Thravellin' towards us," he muttered — "th' 
back av th' head!" 

Hands clasped behind bent back, and with head 
thrust loweringly forward from between his huge 
shoulders he paced slowly down the trail for some 
hundred yards. That grim, intent face and the sway- 
ing gait reminded Redmond of some huge bloodhound 
casting about for a scent. 

Halting irresolutely a moment, Slavin presently 
faced about and returned. "Wan harse on'y!" he 
vouchsafed to their silent looks of enquiry. "He had 
not company. Must have been shot from lift or right 
av th' thrail." He stared around hii.i at the bare sweep 
of ground. "Now fwhere cud any livin' man find 
cover here in th' full av th' moon, tu get th' range wid 
a small arm? He wud show up agin' th' snow like th' 
ace av shpades an' he thried." 

Suddenly his jaw dropped and he stiffened. 
"Ah-hh ! " His eyes rivetted themselves on some object 
and his huge arm shot out. "Fwhat's yon?" 

They all stared in the direction he indicated. Plas- 
tered with frosted snow, until it was all but undis- 
cernible against its white background, lay an enor- 
mous boulder — a relic, perchance, of some vast pre- 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 125 

historic upheaval. It was situated at an oblique angle 
to the trail, about a hundred yards distant 

With stealthy, quickened steps Slavin made his way 
Rewards u. Tensely they watched him. m each man' 
mmd now was a vague feeling of certainty of some- 
thmg they knew not what. They saw him reach the 
boulder, walk round it and stoop, peering at its bat 
for a few moments. Then suddenly he straightened 
up and beckoned to them. 

"Thread in file," he called out warningly. Yorke 
ed, and, treading heedfully in each other's foot-marks 
they reached the spot. Slavin silently pointed down-' 
wards. There, plainly discernible on the surface of the 
wmd-packed, hard-crust. . ^w, were the corrugated 
.-pnnts of cvershoed . _comi„g and going 
apparently .n the direction of the previously mentioned 

Redmond indicated two rounded impressions at the 
foot of the boulder, with two smaller ones behind. 
Must have hunched himself on his knees behind, 
eh? he queried in a low voice 

Slavin nodded. The rays of the westering sun com- 
ng from back of a doud glinted on something in 
the snow, a few feet away from the tracks. It caught 



126 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
Yorke's eyes and with an exclamation he picked 
it up. 

" — gold, raw gold, the spent shell rotted — " 

he quoted. "Here you are, Burke!" 

Slavin uttered a delighted oath as he examined the 
small, bottle-necked shell of the automatic variety. 
".38 Luger!" he said. "A high-pressure 'gat' like that 
is oncommon hereabouts!" Passing it on to the 
coroner he whistled softly. "My God! Fwhativer sort 
av a gun-artist is ut that — even allowin' for th' moon- 
light — can pick a man off thru' th' head wid a re- 
volver at this distance? ... an' wan shell on'y? . . . 
'Soapy Smith' himself cu'dn't have beat this!" 

He proceeded to sift some fine, crisp snow in one of 
the imprints, then, producing an old letter from his 
pocket, he flattened out the type-written sheets of 
foolscap therein. Placing the blank side of the sheet 
face-downwards upon the imprint he pressed down 
smartly. The result was a very fair impression of the 
footmark, which he immediately outlined in pencil. 

A strange ominous silence fell upon the group. Deep 
in wild, whirling conjecture, each man gazed about hiui. 
The desolate, sinister aspect of their surroundings 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 127 

struck them with a sudden chill. Yorke voiced the 
general sentiment. 

"My Godl" he said in a low voice, "but it sure is 
dreary!" 

With a final, self-satisfying survey at his "lay av 
things" Slavin stepped weU to the side of the incrimi- 
nating foot-prints. "Come on!" he said "get in file 
behmtme! We will follow this up!" 

Silently they obeyed and padded in his rear. 

"^ ^ '''g feet, whoever owns 'em," remarked 
Redmond to Yorke. 

Slavin heard him. "Ay!" he flung back grimly. 
An they will shtand on th' dhrop yet-thim same 
feet!" 

The tracks returning in the direction of the coulee 
presented a vast contrast to the approaching imprints. 
Where the latter denoted an even, steady stride, the 
former ran in queer, irregular fashion - sometimes 
bunched together, and at others with wide spaces 
between. 

'"On th' double!'" reiwrked Slavin observantly. 
Must have got scairt!" 

"Ahl" murmured the coroner, reflectively, "though 
the Bible doesn't expressly state so, I guess Cain, too, 



128 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

got on the 'double' as you call it — after he killed 
Abel." 

They finally reached the coulee where the tracks, 
debouching from the steep edge, passed along its rim 
and presently descended the more shallow end of the 
draw. Their leader eventually halted at the foot of a 
small cotton-wood tree where the human foot-prints 
ended. There in the snow they beheld a hoof-trampled 
space, which, together with broken twigs, indicated a 
tethered horse. 

This served for comment and speculation awhile. 
The sergeant, producing a small tape measure dotted 
down careful measurements of the over-shoed imprints 
and their length of stride, also the size of the shod 
hoof-marks. 

Redmond drew his attention to blood-stains in 
several of the latter. "Shod with "never-slip' 
calks, Sergeant 1" he said. "Must have slipped 
somewhere and 'calked' himself on the 'coronet,' 
I guess?" 

"Eyah!" muttered Slavin approvingly, "Th' 'nigh- 
hind' 'tis, note, bhoy! . . . 't'will serve good thrailin' 
— that. Well, let's follow ut onl" 

Wearily his companions plodded on in his wake. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 129 

The tracks, after following the draw for a short dis- 
tance, suddenly wound up a steep, narrow path on 
the left side of the coulee. Reaching the surface of 
the level ground, they circled until they struck into the 
main trail east again, about a mile below where the 
party had left their horses. Here, merged amongst 
countless others on the well-travelled highway, they 
became more difficult to trace, though occasionally the 
faint blood-stains proclaimed their identity. 

Slavin pulled up. "Luks as if he'd shtruck back tu 
Cow Run again," he said with conviction. "Must 
have come from there, tu — thracks was goin' and 
comin' an' ye noticed, fwhin we climbed out av th' 
coulee back there. We must luk for a harse wid th* 
nigh-hind badly 'calked.' Yorkey! yu' get back an' 
tell that Lanky Jones feller tu come on. Hitch yez 
own harses behint our cutter an' take th' lines." He 
squinted at the sun and pulled out his watch. " 'Tis 
four o'clock, begob! 'T'will turn bitther cowld whin 
th' sun goes down." 

The coroner smiled knowingly. "Talking about 
'calks'!" he remarked; and diving into the deep re- 
cesses of his fur coat he produced a comfortable-look- 
ing leather-encased ilask. "A little 'calk' all round 



h 



130 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
won't hurt us after that tramp, Sergeant I" he observed 
kindly. 

Their transport presently arriving, they proceeded 
on their way to Cow Run, Yorke and Redmond watch- 
ing carefully for any tracks debouching from the main 
trail. Occasionally they dismounted to verify the in- 
criminating hoof-prints which still continued east- 
ward. In this fashion they finally drew to the level 
of the river, where the trail forked; one arm of it 
following more cr less the winding course of the Bow 
River back westward. At this junction they searched 
narrowly until they found unmistakable indication of 
the blood-tinged tracks still heading in the direction of 
Cow Run. 

"What was that case of yours, Yorkey?" enquired 
Redmond. "You know — what Slavin was talking 
about?" 

"Mix-up over that horse," replied Yorke laconically, 
"disputed ownership. A chap named Moran tried to 
run a bluff over Larry that he'd lost the horse as a 
colt. They got to scrapping and I ran 'em both up be- 
fore Gully, the J. P. here. Moran got fined twenty 
dollars and costs for assaulting Blake. Say! look at 
that sky! Isn't it great?" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 131 
They turned in their saddles and looked westward. 
Clean-cut against a pale yellow-ochre background and 
enveloped in a deep purple bloom, the mighty peaks 
of the distant "Rockies" upreared their eternal snow- 
capped glory in a salute to departing day. Above, 
where the opaline-tinted horizon shaded imperceptibly 
into the deep ultramarine of evening, lay glowing 
streamers of vivid crimson cloud-bank edged with the 
gleaming gold of the sunset's after-glow. 

It wa^ a soul-filUng sight. Against it the sordid 
contrast of the sinister business in hand smote them 
like a blow from an unseen hand, as they resumed 
their monotonous scanning of the trail on its either 
side. 

Yorke presently voiced the impression in both their 
hearts. "My God!" he murmured "the bitter irony 
of it! 'Peace on Earth, gouJwill towards men' . 
and thisl— what?" 



.:.! 



CHAPTER VII 

Okl Bad Bill Brougk, a way-back touth 

Raised hell when he struck luc^ii; 
Wilh gun-in-fist met Sergeant T-^ist — 

It sure was some show-down. 

BALtAD OF SERGEANT TWIST 

COW RUN was reached in the gathering dusk. 
Seen under winter conditions the drab little 
town looked dreary and uninviting enough as the 
party negotiated its m: "i street. A fram>^ -built hotel, a 
livery-stable, a smail -'..rch, a school-house, a line of 
false-fronted stores, and some three-score dwellings 
failed to arouse in George an enthusiastic desire to 
become a permanent resident of Cow Run. 

The corpse they deposited temporarily in an empty 
shack situated in the rear of the doctor's residence. 
From long usage this place had come to be accepted 
as the common morgue of the district. After arranging 
details with the coroner anent the morrow's inquest, 
and carefully searching the dead man, the sergeant and 
his two subordinates repai.ed to the livery-stable to 
put up their horses. 

'32 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 133 
Nicholas Lee, the keeper of this establishment, 
greeted them with wheezy cordiality, apportioned to 
them stable-room and guaranteed especial care of their 
horses. In appearance that worthy would have made a 
passable understudy for the elder Weller, being red- 
faced, generous of girth and short of breath. In 
addition to his regular calling he filled —or was sup- 
posed to fill— the office of "town constable" and pound- 
keeper. A sort of village "Dogberry." Incidentally 
it might be mentioned tliat he also could have laid 
claim to be a "wictim of circumstances"; having but 
recently contracted much the same sort of hymeneal 
bargain as did the Dickensian character. The sym- 
pathy of Cow Run, individually and collectively, was 
extended to him on this account. 

From his somewhat garrulous recital of the day's 
events it was satisfactorily evident to his hearers that 
wind of the murder had not struck Cow Run as yet. 
For obvious reasons Slavin had enjoined strict secrecy 
upon Lanky Jones, Lee's stable-hand. 

"Ar!» wheezed Lee "It's a good job yu' fellers is 
come. That ther 'Windy Moran's' bin raisin' hell over 
in the hotel th' las' two days. He got to fightin' ag'in 
las' night with Larry Blake — over that hawss. Bob 



134 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
Ingalls an' Chuck Reed an' th' bunch dragged 'em 
apart an' tol' Larry to beat it back to his ranch — 
which he did. Windy — they got him to bed, an' kep' 
him ther all night, as he swore he'd shoot Larry. He's 
still over ther, nasty-drunk an' shootin' oS what he's 
goin' t' do." 

He rubbed his hands in gleeful anticipation, gloating 
deeply in his throat: "Stirrin' timesi arl stirrin' times! 
. . . Now — 'bout that ther hobo, Sargint — " 

"Awl damn th' hobol" exploded Slavin impatiently. 
"Here, Nick 1 show me Windy 'sharse. Fwhat? Niver 
yeh mind fwhat for. . . now! Yu'U know all 'bout 
that later." 

His native curiosity balked, the old gossip, with 
a slightly injured air, indicating a big sorrel saddle- 
horse standing in a stall opposite the Police team. 
Slavin backed the animal out. It seemed to be lame. 
With fierce eagerness they examined its "nigh-hind" 
lef — and found what they sought for. 

For there — where the hair joins the hoof, techni- 
cally known as the "coronet" — was a deep, jagged 
wound, such as is caused usually by a horse slipping 
and jabbing itself with sharp-pointed shoe-cai'«. The 
hoof itself was stained a dull red where the blood had 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 135 

run down. Slavin picked up a fore-foot and exhibited 
to them the round-pointed, screwed-in calks, commonly 
known as "neverslips." He took the measurements 
of the shoe and glanced at his note-book. 

Finally, with a significant gesture and amidst dead 
silence, he thrust the book back in his pocket. Handing 
over the horse to Lee he bade him tie it up again. 

Wordlessly, the trio exchanged mysUfied glances. 
"See here; look, Nick!" Slavin grasped the livery- 
man's fat shoulder and looked grimly into the startled, 
rubicund face. "I'm a-goin' tu put a question tu yeh,' 
an' 'member now. ... I want yeh tu think harrdl 
. . . Now -whin Larry Blake came in tu saddle-up 
an' pull out last night was that ther sorrel o' Windy's 
still in th' stable — or not?" 

"Eh?" gasped Lee at last, "I dunnol Me nor Lanky 
wasn't around when Larry pulled out. We was over 
t' th' hr/.tl Sariint." 

Slavin released the man's shoulder with a testy, 
balked gesture. "Yes! enjoyin' th' racket an' dhrunk 
like th' rist, I guess! . . . 'Tis a foine sort av town- 
constable yez are!" 

Nick Lee maintained his air of injured innocence. 
"I came round here 'bout midnight, anyways!" he pro- 



136 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

tested. "I always do — jes' t' see '£ everythin's all 
right. That hawss was in then, I will swear — 'cause I 
'member his halter-shank'd come untied and I fixed it. 
Ev'rythin' in th' garden was lovely 'cep' fur that 
damned hobo sneakin' round. He was gettin' 
a drink at th' trough an' I chased him. But he beat 
it up inta th' loft an' — I'm that scared of fire," he 
ended lamely, "I never lock up fur that." 

Slavin nodded wisely. "Yesl I guess he made his 
getaway from yu' — easy. Mighty long toime since 
yuh've bin able tu dhrag yeh're guts up that ladder — 
lit alone squeege thru' th' thrap-dhure. Bet Lanky 
does all th' chorin'." He glanced around him impa- 
tiently, "But this here's all talk — it don't lead no- 
wheres. HuUol this is Gully's team, ain't it?" He 
indicated a splendid pair of roans standing in a double 
stall nearby. 

"Yes!" said Lee, "he pulled in las' night t' catch 
th' nine-thirty down t' Calgary. He ain't back yet." 

"Fwas he — " Slavin checked himself abruptly — 
"fwhat toime did he get in here?" 

" 'Bout nine." 

"Fwhat toime 'bout fwas ut whin this racket 
shtarted up betune Windy an' Larry?" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 137 

"Oh, I dunno, Sarjint! — 'bout nine, may be — as 
I say I — " 

"Come onl" said the sergeant, abruptly, to his men, 
"let's go an' eat. Luk afther thim harses good, Nick,'' 
he flung back in a kind tone. 

Outside in the dark road they gathered together, 
bandying mystified conjecture in low tones. « 'Tis 
no use arguin', bhoys," snapped Slavin at last, 
wearily, "we've got tu see Chuck Reed an' Bob In- 
galls an' Brophy av th' hotel. Their wurrd goes — 
they're straight men. If they had Windy corralled 
all night, as Nick sez . . . fwhyl ... that let's 
Windy out." 

He was silent awhile, then: "That harse av 
Windy's," he burst out with an oath, "I thought 't'was 
a cinch. Somethin' passin' rum 'bout all this. There's 
abs'lutely no mistake 'bout th' harse. Somebody in 
this god-forsaken burg must ha' used him tu du th' 
klllin' wid. Well, let's get on." 

Suddenly, as they neared the hotel, a veritable bed- 
lam of sound fell upon their ears, apparently from in- 
side that hostelry -men shouting, a dog barking, and 
above all the screeching, crazed voice of a drunken 
man. 



138 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

The startied policemen dashed into the front en- 
trance, through the office and across the passage into 
the bar beyond, from whence the uproar proceeded. 
"Helpl Murder! Pleecel" some apparently high- 
strung individual was bawling. A ludicrous, but never- 
theless dangerous, sight met their eyes. 

A moUey crowd, composed mainly of well-dressed 
passengers from off the temporarily-stalled West, 
bound train and a sprinkling of townsfolk, were 
backed -hands up -into a corner of the bar by a 
big, hard-faced man clad in range attire who was 
menacing them with a long-barrelled revolver. He 
was dark-haired and swarthy, with sinister, glittering 
eyes. One red-headed, red-nosed individual had ap- 
parently resented parting with the drink that he had 
paid for; as in one decidedly-shaky elevated hand he 
still clutched his glass, its whiskey and water con- 
tents slopping down the neck of his nearest unfortu- 
nate neighbour. 
"Monl" he apologized, in tearful accents, "Ah juisf 

canna help iti" 
"Pitch upl" the "bad man" was shrieking, "Pitch 

upl yu' si — That d d Blake! —that d d 

Gullyl Stealin' my hawss away'f me an' gittin' me 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 139 

fined! I'll git back at somebody fur this! Pkecel 
yes! — yeh kin holler 'PUecef — Let me get th' drop 

on th' red-coated, yeUuh-laigged sons of ! 

Ah-hh!" His eyes glittered with his insane pas- 
sion, "Here they come! Now! watch th' s try 

an' arrest me!" 

Fairly frothing at the mouth, the man, at that mo- 
ment working himself into a frenzy, was plainly as 
dangerous as a mad dog. Drunk though he undoubt- 
edly was, he did not stagger as he stepped to and fr 
with cat-like activity, his gun levelled at the police- 
men's heads. It was an ugly situation. Slavin and 
his men taken utterly by surprise hesitated, as well 
they might; for a single attempt to draw their side- 
arms might easily bring inglorious death upon one 
or another of them. 

We have noted that on a previous occasion Redmond 
demonstrated his ability to think and act quickly. He 
upheld that rqjutation now. Like a flash he ducked 
behind Slavin's broad shoulders and backed into the 
passage. Picking up at random the first missile avail- 
able—to wit — an empty soda-water bottle, he tip- 
toed swiftly along the passage to a door opening into 
the bar lower down. This practically brought him 






f I 



140 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

broadside-on to his man. A moment he peered and 
judged his distance then, drawing back, his arm he 
flung the bottle with all his force. At McGill he had 
been a base-ball pitcher of some renown, so his aim 
was true. The bottle caught its objective full in the 
ear. With a scream of pain the man staggered for- 
ward and clutched with one hand at his head, his 
gun still in his grip sagging floorwards. 

Instantly then, Yorke, who was the nearest, sprang 
at him like a tiger and, flinging one arm around his 
enemy'? bull neck, strove with the other to wrest the 
gun from his grasp. It was a feat however, more 
easily imagined than accomplished — to disarm a 
powerful, active man. The tense fingers tightened 
immediately upon the weapon and resisted to their 
uttermost. Slavin and Redmond both had their side- 
arms drawn now, but they were afraid to use them, 
on Yorke's account. The combatants were whirling 
giddily to and fro, the muzzle of the gun describing 
every point of the compass. 

Taking a risky chance, Slavin, watching his oppor- 
tunity suddenly closed with the struggling men and, 
raising his arm brought the barrel of his heavy Colt's 
45 smashing down on the knuckles of the crazed man's 






THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 141 

gun-hand. Instantaneously the latter's weapon 
dropped to the floor. 

Bang! The cocked hammer discharged one chamber 
—the bullet ricocheting off the brass bar-raU deflected 
through a cluster of glasses and bottles, smashing 
them and a long saloon-mirror into a myriad splinters. 
But few of the company there escaped the deadly fly. 
ing glass, as badly-gashed faces immediately testified. 
It all happened In quicker time than it takes to relate 
" 'Crown' himl" gasped Yorke, still grimly hanging 

onto his man, « 'Crown' the good and hard! " 

Redmond sprang forward, grasping a small, shot- 
loaded police "billy," but Slavin interposed a huge arm. 
"Nay!" he said sharply, and with curious eagerness, 
"Du not 'chrown' urn bhoy ! lave um tu me! " And he' 
grasped one of the big, struggling man's wrists firmly 
m a vise-like grip. "Leggo, Yorkey ! " 

The latter obeyed with alacrity, and stooping he 
picked up the fallen gun. He had an inkling of what 
was coming. 

"Ah-hh!" Slavin gloated gutterally, as he whirled his 
victim giddily around and brought the man up facing 
him with a violent jerk — "Windy Moran, avickl" — 
softly and cruelly- "me wud-be cock av a wan-harse 



I'' 

\\ 

1 1' 



i\ \' 



II 



mi 



142 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
dump 1— me wud-be 'bad-man' 1 ... Oh, yes! 'tis 
both shockin' an' bnitil tu misthreat ye I know but 
— surely, surely yeh desarve somethin' for all thisl" 
And he drew back his formidable right arm. 

Smack! The terrific impact of that one, terrible 
open-handed slap nearly knocked his victim through 
the bar-room wall. The head rocked sideways and the 
big body turned completely round. Eyes rushing water 
and one profile now resembling a slab of bloodied liver, 
the man reeled about in a circle as if bereft of sight. 

"Oh-hhl— Oohl— No-ol— Ah-hh!" The wild, 
moaning cry for quarter came gaspingly out of puffed, 
blood-foamed lips. But there was no mercy in Slavin. 
He looked round at the wrecked bar, the glass-slashed 
bleeding faces of his men and the rest of the saloon's 
occupants. He thought upon many things — how near 
ignoble death many of them had been but a few 
minutes before — upon insult and threat flaunted at 
them by a drunken, rufiBing braggadocio! — and he 
jerked the latter to him once more. 

But his two subordinates jumped forward and made 
violent protest. "Steady!" It was Yorke now who 
appealed for leniency — "Go easy, Burke! for God's 
sake! You've handed him one good swipe — if he 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 143 

get's another like that he'll be all in -won't be able 
to talk. Let it go at thatl" 

The sergeant remained silent, breathing thickly and 
glaring at his prisoner with sinister, glittering eyes, and 
sun retaining the latter's wrist in his iron grip But 
eventually the force of Yorke's reasoning prevailed 
with him. Drawing out his hand-cuffs he snapped them 
on the man's wrists and haled him roughly out of the 
bar into the hotel office. The crowd, recovering some- 
what from their scare, would have followed, but he 
curtly ordered them back and closed the door 

"Brophy!" He beckoned the angry, frightened 
hotel-proprietor forward. "Is Bob Ingalls and Chuck 
Reed still in town?" 

^ "Sure!" replied the latter, "They was both in here 
'bout half an hour ago, anyways." 

Slavin turned to Yorke. "Gc yu an' hunt up thim 
fellers an' bring thim here!" he ordered. 

"Ravin' — dean bug-house! that's what he isl" 
wailed Brophy. "That bar 0' mine! oh. Lord! Yu'll 
git it soaked to yii« this time. Windy, an' don't yu' 
furgititl" 

The prisoner paid no attention to the landlord's 
revflings. Slumped down in a chair he had relapsed 



144 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

into a sort of sulk> stupor, though he cringed visibly 
whenever Slavin bent on him his thoughtful, sinister 
gaze. 

Presently Yorke returned, bringing with him two 
respectable-looking men, apparently ranchers, from 
their appearance. 

Slavin nodded familiarly to them. "Ingalls!" he 
addressed one of theni "I'm given tu undhershtand that 
yuh an' Chuck Reed there tuk charge av this feller — " 
he indicated the prisoner — "last night, whin he had 
that racket wid Larry Blake in th' bar? Fwhat was 
they rowin' over?" 

"That hawss o' Blake's mostly," was Ingalls' laconic 
answer. "Course they was slingin' everythin' else they 
could dig down an' drag up, too." He chewed thought- 
fully a moment, "We had some time with 'em," he 
added. 

"Shore did!" struck in Reed. "We was scared fur 
Larry, so we told him to beat it home — which he did 
— an' then we got Windy up to bed an' stayed with 
him nigh all night." 

Slavin looked at Brophy interrogatively. "Yuh can 
vouch for this, tu, Billy? He's bin in yu're place iver 
since th' throuble shtarted?" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 145 

Brophy nodded. "Yes! d n himl I wbh he had 

got out before this bizness started. Yes! he's bin here 
right along, Sarjint! why? — what's up?" 

Slavin evaded the direct question for the moment. 
Silently awhile he gazed at the three wondering faces. 
"Now, I'll tell yez!" he said slowly. And briefly he 
informed them of the murder — omitting all detail of 
the clues obtained later. They listened with wide eyes 
and broke out into startled exclamations. The pris- 
oner struggled up from the chair, his bruised, ghastly 
face registering fear and genuine astonishment. Red- 
mc— 1 shoved him back again. 

"If any feller thinks—" Moran relapsed into 
maudlin, hysterical protestations of innocence, calling 
upon the Deity to bear witness that he was innocent 
and had no knowledge whatever of how Blake came to 
his death. 

Eventually silence fell upon all. Slavin cogitated 
awhile, then he turned to Brophy. "Who else was 
in, Billy? Out av town fellers I mean, fwhin this 
racket occurred betune these tu? Thry an' think 
nowl" 

Brophy pondered long and presently reeled off a 
few names. Slavin heard him out and shook his head 



i; 



146 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
negatively. "Nothin' doin' there!" he announced 
finally, "Mr. Gully was in, yuh say? Did he see any- 
thin' av thi" row?" 

"CudnV help it, I guess," replied Brophy. "He 
just come inta th' office for his grip while it was a- 
goln' on. He beat it out quick for th' East-bound as 
had just come in. Said he was runnin' down to Cal- 
gary. He ain't back yet. Guess he wudn't want to 
go gettln' mixed up in anythin' like that, either — 
him bein' a J. P." 

Slavin looked at Yorke. "Let's have a luk at that 
gun av Moran's!" he remarked. "Fwhat is ut?" 

Yorke handed the weapon over. "'Smith and 
Wesson' single-action," he said. "Just that one round 
gone." 

"Nothin doin' agin'," muttered Slavin disappoint- 
edly. He broke the gun and, ejecting the shells put 

all in his pocket. He then turned to Moran. "D 1 

good job for yu' — havin' this alibi, Mister Windy!" 
he growled, "don't seem anythin' on yu' over this 
killin' — as yet! But yez are goin' tu get ut fwhere 
th' bottle got th' cork for this otaer bizness, me man!" 
And he proceeded to formally charge and warn his 
prisoner. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 147 
"Give us a room, Brophy!" he said, "a big wan for 
th' bunch av us — an' lave a shake-down on th' flure 
for this fuller 1" 

Preceded by the landlord the trio departed up- 
stairs, escorting their prisoner. Alone in the room 
they discussed matters in lowered tones; Slavin and 
Yorke not forgetting to compliment Redmond on his 
presence of mind — or, as the sergeant put it: "Di- 
vartin' his attenshun." 

The big Irishman scratched his chin thoughtfully. 
"I must go wire th' O.C. report av all this. Sind 
Gully comes back on th' same thrain wld Inspector 
Kilbride to-morrow. Thin we can go ahead — wid 
two J. P.S tu handle things. Yuh take charge av Mr. 
Man, Ridmond! Me an' Yorke will go an' eat now, 
an' relieve yxih later." 



CHAPTER VIII 

"Tht Court ii prepared, the Laviyen are nut 

The Judtes all ranged, a terrible show I" 
As Captain Uacheath says, — and vihrn one's arraltned. 

The sitht's as unpleasant a ,:>f -u / *iio«i. 

THE INOOUSBY UGENDS. 

ORRRDHER IN COORTl" rang out Ser- 
geant Slavin's abrupt command. It was about 
ten o'clock the following morning. The hotel 
pMrloiir bad been hastily transformed into a temporary 
court-room. A large square table had been drawn to 
one end of the room and two easy chairs placed con- 
veniently behind it. Fronting it was a long bench, 
designed for the prisoner and escort. In the immediate 
rear were arranged a few rows of chairs, to accommo- 
date the witnesses and spectators. 

The sergeant's order, prompted by the entrance of 
the two Justices of the Peace, was the occasion of all 
present rising to attention, in customary deference to 
police-court rules. One of the newcomers, dressed in 
the neat blue-serge uniform of an inspector of the 
148 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 149 
Force, was famUiar to Redmond as Inspector Kilbride, 
who had been recently transferred to L Division from 
a northern district. He had close-cropped gray hair 
and a clipped, grizzled moustache. Though apparently 
Bearing midHle-age he still po:.sessed the slim, wiry, 
active figure of a man long inured to the saddle. 

The appearance of his judicial confrere fairly startled 
George. He was a huge fellow, fully as tall and as 
heavy a man as Slavin, though not so compactly-built 
or erect as the latter. Still, his wide, loosely-hung, 
slightly bowed shoulders suggested vast strength, and 
his leisurely though active movements indicated abso- 
lute muscular control. But it was the strangely sombre, 
mask-like face which excited Redmond's interest most. 
Beneath the broad, prominent brow of a thinker a 
pair of deep-set, shadowy dark eyes peered forth, with 
the lifeless, unwinking stare of an owl. Between them 
jutted a large, bony beak of a nose, with finely-cut 
nostrils. The pitiless set of the powerful jaw was only 
partially concealed by an enormous drooping mous- 
tache, the latter reddish in colour and streaked with 
gray, like his thinning, carefully brushed hair. His 
age was hard to determine. Somewhere around forty- 
five, George decided, as he regarded with covert in- 



ISO THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

terest Ruthven Gully, Esq., gentleman-rancher and 
Justice of the Peace for the district. 

The two Justices took their places with magisterial 
decorum, the witnesses seated themselves again, and, 
all being ready, the sergeant opened the court with its 
tiir>e-honoured formula. 

The inspector glanced over the various "informa- 
tions" and handed them over to his confrere for perusal. 
A brief whispered colloquy ensued between them, and 
then the local justice settled himself back in his chair, 
chin in hand. Inspector Kilbride addressed the 
prisoner who had remained standing between Yorke 
and Redmond, and in a clear, passionless voice pro- 
ceeded to read out the several charges. 

"Do you wish to ask for a remand, Moran?" he 
enquired, "to enable you to procure counsel?" 

"No, sir!" Moran's sullen, insolent eyes suddenly 
encountering a dangerous, steely glare from Kilbride's 
gray orbs he wilted and immediately dropped his bel- 
ligerent attitude. "No use me hirin' a mouthpiece," 
he added, "as I'm a-goin' t' plead guilty t' all them 
charge' ' 

"Al:i The inspector thoughtfully conned over the 
"informations" once more. "Sergeant Slavin," said he 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 151 

presently, "what are the particulars of this man's 
disorderly conduct?" 

He listened awhile to the sergeant's evidence, 
occasionally asking a question or two, but Mr. Gully 
remained in the same silent, brooding, inscrutable atti- 
tude which he had adopted at the commencement of the 
proceedings. Though apparently listening keenly, his 
shadowy eyes betrayed no interest whatever in the 
case. 

Of that face Yorke had once remarked to Slavin: 
"That beggar's mug faiiy haunts me sometimes. . . . 
He's a good fellow. Gully, — but you know — when 
he gets that brooding look on his face . . . he's the 
living personification of a western Eugene Aram." 

And Slavin, engaged in shredding a pipeful of 
tobacco had mumbled absently "So? — Ujin Airum! 
— I du not mind th' ould shtiff — fwhat was his reg'- 
minthal number?" 

The sergeant finished his evidence; Kilbride swung 
round to his fellow-justice once more and diey held a 
whispered consultation, the latter making emphatic 
gestures throughout the colloquy. This ending the 
inspector turned to the prisoner. 
"You have pleaded guilty to each of these charges. 



Hi 



|i 



IS2 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
Have you anything to say? — any explanation to offer 
for your reckless, disorderly conduct?" 

The prisoner swallowed nervously and shuffled with 
his feet. "Guess J was drunk," he said finally, "didn't 
know what I was doin'." 

The mspector's grey eyes glittered coldly. "So?" 
he drawled ironically, "the sergeant's evidence is to the 
contrary. It would appear that you were not so very 
drunk. You were neither staggering nor incapable at 
the tune. It was merely a rehearsal of a cheap bit of 
dime novel sort of bar-room, rough-house black- 
guardism that no doubt in various other places you 
have got away with and emerged the swaggering hero. 
Where do you come from? Whom are you working for 
now?" 

"Havre, Montana. I'm ridin' fur th' North-West 
Cattle Company." 

"Ah! well, let me tell you that sort of stuff doesn't 
go over on this side, my man." He considered a 
moment and picked up a Criminal Code. "In view 
of your pleading guilty to these charges, and therefore 
not wasting the time of this court unnecessarily, I 
propose dealing with you in more lenient fashion than 
you deserve. For being unlawfully in possession of 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 153 
firearms you are fined twenty dollars and costs. For 
'pointing fire-arms,' fifty dollars and costs. On the 
charge of 'resisting the police in the execution of their 
duty' you are sentenced to six months imprisonment 
with hard labour in the Mounted Police Guard-room 
at Calgary. You are also required to make restitution 
for all damage cav id as the result of your fracas." 

Moran squirmed and mumbled: "If I've got t' do 
time on the one charge I might as well do it on th' 
rest, an' save th' money fur t' pay fur th' damage." 
"Very good!" agreed the inspector coldly. He bent 
again to his confrere and they conferred awhile. Then 
he turned to the prisoner. "Thirty days hard labour 
then — on each of the first two charges — sentences 
to run concurrently." He paused a space, resuming 
sternly: "And let me tell you this, Moran: in view of 
certain wild threats uttered by you in public you have 
narrowly escaped being charged with the greatest of 
all crimes. It is indeed a fortunate thing for you 
that you have been able to produce a reliable alibi. 
All right, Sergeant! you can close the court. Make 
out that warrant of commitment and I and Mr. Gully 
wiU sign it later. We're going over to see the coroner." 
The two Justices arose and passed out, the few 









IS4 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

witnesses and onlookers drifting aimlessly in their 
wake. Elavin lowered himself ponderously into the 
chair just vacated by the inspector, lit his pipe, and, 
whistling softly, commenced to fill out a legal form. 
Yorke and Redmond also took the opportunity to in- 
dulge in a quiet smoke as they chatted together in 
low tones. The former good-naturedly tossed a 
cigarette over to the prisoner, with the remark: "Have 
a smoke, Windy — it's the last you'll get for some 
time." 

Moran, slumped in a tipped-back chair, blew a whiff 
of smoke from a lop-sided mouth. "Six months!" 
chanted he lugubriously, "an' they call this a free 
country! — free hell! — 

"Ok, bury me out on tk' lone prair-te, 
Wkere tk' wild ki-oot'tt kowl over me,— 

— might as well an' ha' done with it!" 

They all laughed unsympathetically. « 'Tis mighty 
lucky for yuh thim sintences run concurrently instid 
av consecutively," was the sergeant's rejoinder, "or 
ut'd be eight months yez ud be doin' stid av six." 

The front legs-sof Moran's chair suddenly hit the 
floor with a crash. "Lookit here, bhoys," he said 
earnestly, "that ther big mag'strate — him as you 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 155 
call Gully — is that his real name? Wher does he 
come from? What countryman is he?" 

"English I" answered Yorke shortly. "Why? D'ye 
think an Englishman has to run r.ound with a 
blooming alias?" 

"Well, now, yu' needn't go t' git huffy with a man!" 
expostulated Moran, with an injured air. "Th' 
reason I'm askin' yu' is this": He paused impres- 
sively, with puckered, thoughtful eyes. "That same 
man — if it ain't him — is th' dead spit of a man as 

once hit County, in Montana 'bout ten years 

back. Dep'ty Sheriff — I can't mind his name now. 
It was a hell of a tough county that — then. Th' 
devil himself 'ud ha' bin scairt t' start up in bizness 
ther." He shook his head slowly. "But I tell yu' — 
when Mr. Man let up with his fancy shootin' it was 
th' peaceablest place in th' Union. Th' rough stuff'd 
drifted — what was left above ground. He dragged 
it too, later. I never heered wher he went." 

"Ah!" remarked Slavin pityingly, knocking out his 
pipe. "Th' few shots av hootch ye had tu throw inta 
yu' last night tu get ye're Dutch up must be makin' 
ye see double, me man. If th' rough stuff he run 
inta there was on'y th' loikes av yeisii." he must have 



,1 ■■ t 



156 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

shtuck a soft snap." He arose. "Put th' stringers on 
him agin, Ridmond, an' take um upstairs an' lock um 
up! Yu'll be escort wid um tu Calgary whin th' East- 
bound comes in — an' see here, look I ... I want 
ye tu be back here agin as soon as iver ye can make 
ut back. Tchkk!" he clucked fretfully, "I wish this 
autopsy an' inquest was thru', so's we cud git down 
tu bizness. Phew! thij dive's stuffy — let's beat ut 
out a bit!" 

Standing on the sidewalk they gazed casually at 
the slowly approaching figures of Inspector Kilbride 
and Mr. Gully. The two latter appeared to be en- 
gaged in a vehement, though guarded conversation — 
stopping every now and again, as if to debate a point. 
"Here cometh Moran's 'dep'ty sheriff,' " was Yorke's 
facetious comment. 

"By gum, though!" Redmond ejaculated, "the 
beggar would make a good stage marshal, wouldn't 
he ? ... with that Bret Harte, forty-niner's mous- 
tache and undertaker's mug, and top-boots and all, 
what?" 

"And a glittering star badge," supplemented Yorke 
dramatically, "don't forget that! and two murderous- 
looking guns slanted across his hips and—" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 157 
"Arrah, thin! shut up, Yorkey!" hissed the sergeant 
in a warning aside, "they'll hear yez. Here they 
come." 

Presently the five were grouped together. In- 
spector Kilbride's stern features were set in a thought- 
ful, lowering scowl. Mr. Gully's tanned, leathery coun- 
tenance looked curiously mottled. 

"Sergeant!" The inspector clicked off his words 
sharply. "This is a bad case. We've just been view- 
ing the body — Mr. Gully and I." With mechanical 
caution he glanced swiftly round. "Let's get inside 
and go over things again," he added. 

Seated in the privacy of the hotel parlour the crime 
was discussed from every angle with callous, profes- 
sional interest. Kilbride and Slavin did most of the 
talking, though occasionally Gully interpolated with 
question and comment. He possessed a deep, booming 
bass voice well-suited to his vast frame. His speech, 
despite a slightly languid drawl, was unquestionably 
that of an educated Englishman. Yorke and Redmond 
maintained a respectful silence in the presence of their 
officer, except to answer promptly and quietly any 
questions put directly to them. 

Personal revenge they decided eventually could be 



iS8 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
the only motive. Robbery was out of the question, as 
the personal belongings of the dead man had been 
found to be intact, including a valuable diamond ring, 
about a hundred and fifty dollars in bills, and his 
watch, papers, etc. A jovial, light-hearted young 
rancher, hailing originally from the Old Country, a 
bachelor of more or less convivial habits, he had en- 
joyed the hearty good-will of the country-side, in- 
curring the enmity of no one, with the exception of 
Moran, as far as they knew. The latter's alibi having 
established his innocence beyond doubt, no definite 
clues were forthcoming as yet, beyond the foot-prints, 
the horse, and the "Luger" shell. Moran," too, they 
ascertained had ridden in alone, and was not in the 
habit of chumming with anyone in particular. Slavin 
had prepared a list of all known out-going and in- 
coming individuals on and about the date of the crime. 
This was carefully conned over. All were, without 
exception, well-known respectable ranchers, and citi- 
zens of Cow Run, to whom no suspicion could be 
attached. 

"No I" commented the inspector wearily, at length. 
"In my opmion thb has been done by someone living 
right here in this burg — a man whom we could go and 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 159 
put our hands on this very minute — if we only had 
something to work on. You'll see . . . it'll turn 
out to be that later. Just about the last man you'd 
suspect, either. Cases like this — where the individual 
has nerve enough to stay right on the job and go about 
his business as usual — are often the hardest nuts to 
crack. You remember that Huggard case, Sergeant?" 
Many years previous he and Slavin had been non- 
coms together in the Yukon, and other divisions of 
the Force, and now, delving back into their memories 
of crime and criminals, they cited many old and grim 
cases, more or less similar to the one in hand. Yorke 
and Redmond listened eagerly to theu- narration, but 
GuDy betrayed only a sort of taciturn interest. If 
he had any experiences of his own, he apparently did 
not consider it worth while to contribute them just 
then; though to Slavin and Yorke he was known to 
be a man who had travelled far and wide. 

"Ah!" remarked the inspector, a trifle bitterly. "If 
only some of these smart individuals who write fool 
detective stories, with their utterly impracticable 
methods, theories, and deductions, were to climb out 
of tiieir arm-chairs and tackle the real thing — had to 
do it for their living — they'd Mak* a pretty ghasUy 



i6o THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
mess of things I'm thinking. It all looks so mighty 
easy — in a book. You can see exactly how the thing 
happened, put your hand on the man who did it, and 
all that, right from the start. And you begin to 
wonder, pityingly, why the police were such fools as 
not to have seen through everything right away." 

He paused a moment, continuing: "This is a law- 
abiding country. Crimes like this are exceptional. 
We're bound to get to the bottom of this sooner or 
later. When we do — there'll be quite a lot of things 
crop up in oiu- minds that we'll be wondering we never 
thought of before. Let me have another look at that 
paper imprint of that over-shoe, Sergeantl" 

Silently, Slavin handed it over. Kilbride scruti- 
nized it carefully, and again went over all notes and 
figures connected with the crime. "Must have been a 
tall man — possibly six feet, or over, from the length 
of the stride," he muttered, "and heavy, from the 
depth of the imprint." He noted the distance from the 
big boulder to where the body had first fallen. "Gadl 
what shooting! . . . The man must have been a holy 
fright with a revolver — to have confidence in himself 
to be able to kill at that range. I've never known any- 
thing like it. Weill . . . Onesure thing" — he laughed 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED i6i 

grimly -"you can't go searching every decent 
ciuzen here for a Luger gun, or demanding to measure 
his feet -without reasonable suspicion. Why! It 
might be you, Sergeant — or Mr. Gully, here . . 
you're both big men. ..." 

Long afterwards, well they remembered the inspec- 
tor's random jest - how Gully, with one hand slid into 
his breast, and the other dragging at his great drooping 
moustache (mannerisms of his) had joined in the gen- 
eral laugh with his hollow, guttural "Hal ha I" 

The inspector's levity suddenly vanished. "That 
old fool of a livery-stable keeper, Lee, or whatever his 
name is ... if only he, or someone had been around 

when the horse was brought back that night! D n 

it! there must have been somebody around, surely. 
That's what this case hinges on." 

He looked at his watch. "Well! Work on that — 
to your utmost. Sergeant. Stay right with it until you 
get that evidence. You'll drop onto your man sooner or 
later, I know. That train should be in soon, now. I'll 
have to get back. The Commissioner's due from 
Regina, sometime today, and I've got to be on hand. 
Wire the finding of the inquest as soon as it's over, 
and send in a full crime-report of everything! » 



m 
m 



1 62 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

He glanced casually at the bruised faces of Yorke 
and Redmond. "You men must have had quite a tussle 
with that fellow, Moran!" he remarked whimsically. 
"You seem to have come off the best, Sergeant. You're 
not marked at all." 

"Some tussle all right, Sorrl" agreed that worthy 
evenly, his tongue in his cheek. "Yu' go git yu're 
prisoner, Ridmond, an' be ready whin that thrain 
comer in. Come back on the next way-freight west, 
if there's wan behfure th' passenger. We'll need yez." 

Gully murmured some hospitable suggestion to 
Kilbride, and the two gentlemen strolled into the 
wrecked bar. The train presently arrived and de- 
parted eastwards, bearing on it the inspector, Red- 
mond, and his prisoner. 

"Strange thing," the officer had remarked musingly 
to Slavin, just prior to his departure, "I seem to know 
that man Gully's face, but somehow I can't place him. 
He introduced himself to me on the train coming up. 
Of course I'm familiar with his name, as the J.P. here, 
but I can't recall ever meeting him before." 

Sometime later, Slavin and Yorke, who had just 
returned from the gruesome autopsy and were busily 
making arrangements for the afternoon's inquest. 



; ! ■. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED ,63 

street. They .mmediately stepped outside the u.cel 
to see what was the matter. 

Advancing towards them, and puffing with exertion 
and .mportance they beheld Nick Le.. haling a „" 

VT u"'"^ "" """•'"P* '"*-'^'"' vvhom they 
judged to be the hobo who had di.urbed his peace S 
™nd A small retinue of dirty urchins, j>.-;n,^, " ° 
and barking dogs brought up the rear 'i^^^ 
"Dogberry" drew nigh with his victi:„ an., i,^Z 
empurpled as probably the elder Welle, was after 
duckmg Mr. Stiggins in the horse-trough 
tbTrT.^T*"^ triumphantly "I did dim up 

T Zl . '"^ *'* ^*'"*'''" Suddenly his jaw 
dn^pped, and he wilted like a pricked bladden "wJyT 
^at s up? he queried with a crestfallen air, as he be- 
held Slavm's angry, worried countenance 

"Damnation!" muttered the latter softly and 
^vagely to Yorke. "This means another thrip , 
Calgary-wid this 'bo'-an' me not able tu shpa 
ye just now. Fwhat wid all this other bizness^-d 

Sl"^"^r""- ^'-''^vaggedhimlne 
Ridmond might have taken th' tu av thim down tu- 



i' 



164 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

gither. Da ." The oath died on his lips and he 

remained staring at the hobo as a sudden thought struck 
him. His gaze flickered to Yorke's face, and his subor- 
dinate nodded comprehensively. 

Slavin beckoned to Lee. "Take um inside the hotel 
parlour, Nick," he ordered, "fwhere we hild coort this 
momin.' Yorkey, yu' go an' hunt up Mr. Gully. I 
don't think he's pulled out yet, has he, Nick?" He 
spoke now with a certain grim eagerness. 

The livery-man made a gesture in the negative, and 
Yorke departed upon his quest. Slavin ushered Lee 
and the hobo into the room. To the sergeant's surprise 
he beheld the justice sitting at the table writing. He 
concluded that that gentlman must have just i-pped in 
from the rear entrance of the hotel, or the bar, during 
his own and Yorke's temporary absence. 

At the entrance of the trio Gully raised his head and, 
with the pen poised in his fingers, sat perfectly motion- 
less, staring at them strangely out of his shadowy eyes. 
His face seemed transformed into a blank, expression- 
less mask. The sergeant leaned over the table and 
spoke to him in a rapid aside. 

"Ah!" murmured Mr. Gully, and he remained for 
a space in deep thought. "Sergeant," he began pres- 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 165 
cntly, "I'll have to be pulling out soon. Before we 
start in with this man . . . will you kindly step 
down to Doctor Cox's with these papers and ask him 
to sign them?" 

It seemed an ordinary request. Slavin complied. 
Returning some ten or fifteen minutes later he noticed 
Lee was absent. The magistrate answered his query. 
"Sent him round to throw the harness on my team," 
he drawled, as he pored over a Criminal Code, "he'll 
be back in a moment — ah! here he is." And just 
then the latter entered, along with Yorke. The hobo 
was sitting slumped in a chair, as Slavin had left him. 
With one accord they all centred their gaze upon the 
unkempt delinquent. Ragged and unwashed, he pre- 
sented a decidedly unlovely appearance, which was 
heightened by his stubble-coated visage showing signs 
as of recent ill-usage. His age might have been any- 
thing between thirty and forty. 

The sergeant, a huge, menacing figure of a man, 
stepped forvard and motioned to him to stand. 
"Now, see here; look, me manl" he said slowly and 
distinctly, a sort of tense eagerness underlying his 
soft tones, "behfure I shtart in charrgin' ye wid any- 
thin' I'm goin' tu put a few questions tu ye in front 



1.3 



i66 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

av this ginthleman" — he indicated the justice — 
"He's a mag'strate, so ye'd best tell th' trute. Now — 
th' night behfure last — betune say, nine an' twelve 
o'clock . . . f where was ye?" — he paused — 
"Think harrd, an' come across wid th' straight goods." 

A tense silence succeeded. The hobo, the cynosure 
of a ring of watchful expectant faces, mumbled indis- 
tinctly, "I was sleepin' — up in th' loft o' th' livery- 
staWe." 

"Did yeh — " Slavin eyed thp man fceenly — "did 
ytb see — or hear — any fella take a harse out av 
th' shtable durin' that time?" 

Gully moved slightly. With the mannerism he af- 
fected, his left hand dragging at his moustache and 
his right slid between the lapels of his coat, he leaned 
forward and fixed his eyes full upon the hobo's bat- 
tered visage. 

Meeting that strange, compelling gaze the latter 
stared back at him, his face an ugly, expressionless 
mask. He shuffled with his feet. "Why, yes!" he 
said finally, "I did heer a bunch o' fellers come m. 
They was a-talkin' all excited-like 'bout a fight, or 
sumphin'. They was a-hoUerin', 'Beat it, Larry! beat 
it!' t' somewun, an' I heered some feller say: 'AH 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 167 

rightl give us my saddle!' an' then it sounded 

like as if a horse was bein' taken out. I didn't heer 
no more after that -went t' sleep. I 'member 
comin' down 'bout th' middle o' th' night t' git a drink 
at th' trough. This feller come in then," -he indi- 
cated Lee. "He hollered sumphin' an' started in t' 
chase me . . . so I beat it up inta Ji' loft agin' " 
He shivered. '"T'was cold up tker-I wdl-nigh 
froze," he whined. 

The sergeant exhausted his no mean powers of ex- 
hortation. It was all in vain. The hobo protested 
that he had neither seen nor heard anyone else taking 
out, or bringing in, a horse during the night. 

Slavln finally ceased his efforts and glowered at the 
man in silent impotence. "How come yez tu ^i. th' 
face av yez bashed up so?" he demanded. 

"Fell thru' one o' th' feed-holes up in th' loft," was 
the sulky response. 

"Fwhat name du ye thravel undher?" 

"Dick Drinkwater." 

"Eh?" the sergeant glanced critically at the red, 
bulbous nose. "Fwhat's in a name?" he mumared.' 
"Eyah! fwhat's in a name?" 
Glibly the tramp commenced an impassioned 



fi 



1 68 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

harangue, dwelling upon the hardness of life in gen- 
eral, snuffling and whining after the manner of his 
kind. How could a cri^ied-up man like him obtain 
work? He thrust out a grimy right hand — minus 
two fingers. He had been a sawyer, he averred. 

Slavin sniffed suspiciously. "Ye shtink av whiskey, 
fella!" he said sharply. "That nose, yeh name, an' 
a hard-luck spiel du not go well together. F where did 
)m' get yu're dhrink?" 

The hobo was silent. "Come across," said Slavin 
sternly, "fwhere did ye get ut?" 

"I had a bottle with me when I come off th' train," 
said the other, "ther was a drop left in an' I had it 
just now." 

In the li^t of after events, well did Slavin and 
Yorke recall the furtive appealing glance the hobo 
threw at Gully; well did they also remember certain 
of Kilbride's words: "There'll be quite a lot of things 
crop up in our minds that we'll be wondering we 
never thought of before." 

The justice cleared his throat. "Sergeant" came 
his guttural, booming bass, "suppose! — suppose!" he 
reiterated suavely "on this occasion we — er — temper 
justice with mercy — ha! ha!" His de^ hdlow laugh 



mwF'wrTivms^i 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 169 
jarred oi| their nerves most unpleasantly. "I need a 
man at my place just now," be went on, "to buck 
wood and do a little odd choring around. Times are 
rather hard just now, as this poor fellow says. If you 
insist — er — why, of course I've no other option but 
to send him down ... you understand? I v»ould 
not presume to dictate t you your duty On the 
other hand ... if you are not specially aaxious to 
press a charge of vagrancy ag-^inst this man I — cr- 
am willing to give him a chance to obtain this work — 
that he insists he is so anxious to find." 

Slavin's face cleared and he emitted a weary ^^ 
of relief. "As you wiD. yeh're Worship." he said. 
"T'willbe helpin' me out, tu . . . yeh undhersiitand-'" 
His meaning stare drew a compreiiensive nod fran 
Gully. "I have not a man tu shpare for escort just 



He turned to the hobo. "Fwhat say yu'. me man?" 
was his curt ultimatum, "Fwhat say yu' — tu th' kind- 
niss av his Worship? Will yeh go wurrk for him? . . 
Or be charged wid vagrancy?" 

The offer was accepted with alacrity. In the hobo's 
one uninjured optic shone a momentary gleam of in- 
telligence, as he continued to stare at Gully, like a dog 



170 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

at its master. The gleam was reflected in a pair of 
shadowy, deep-set eyes, unblinking as an owl'S 

Gully arose and looked at Lee. "All right then! you 
can hitch up my team, Nick!" he said, and that rotund 
worthy waddled away on his mission. "Come on, my 
man" he continued to the hobo, "we'll go round to the 
stable." He turned to Slavin and Yorke, shedding his 
magisterial deportment. "Well, good-bye, you 
fellows I " he said, with careless bonhomie. He lowered 
his voice in an aside to Slavin. "Sergeant, I trust I 
shall see, or hear from you again shortly. I would 
like to hear the result of the inquest and — er — how 
you are progressing with the case." 

A few minutes later they heard the silvery jingle of 
his cutter's bells gradually dying away in the distance. 
Slavin aroused himself from a scowling, brooding 

reverie. "G d d n!" he spat out to Yorke, from 

between clenched teeth, "ther' goes another forlorn 
hope. 'Tis no manner av use worryin' tho' — let's go 
get that jury empannelled ! " He uttered a snorting 
chuckle as a thought seemed to strike him. "H-mm! 
Gully must be getthin' tindher-hearthed ! Th' last 
▼ag we had up behfure him he sint um down for sixty 
days." 



CHAPTER IX 

Tmke order how, Cehati, 

That no man talk aside 
In secret uiith his judges 

The wkie his case is tried, 
lest he should show them — reason 

To keef a matter hid, 
And subtly lead the questions 

Away from what he did. 



KIPUHO. 



HULLOl" quoth Constable Yorke facetiously, 
"behold one cometh, with blood in his eyel' 
Egad I Don't old gal Lee look mad? Like a 
wet hen. I guess she's just off the train and Nick 
hasn't met her. There'll be something doing when she 
lands home." 

It was about ten o'clock on the following morning 
The three policemen (Redmond had returned on a 
freight during the night) were standing outside the 
small cottage, next the livery-stable, the abode of Nick 
Lee and his spouse. After a casual inspection of their 
horses they were debating as to possible suspects and 
their next course of action. Yorke's remarks were 



II 



%:^ 



172 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

directed at a stout, red-faced, middle-aged woman who 
was just then approaching tbem. She looked flustered 
and angry and was burdened down with parceb great 
and small. As she baited outside the gate one <>f ibe 
packages slipped from her grasp and fell in the mud. 
Unable to bend dov> she gazed at it helplessly a 
moment. Yorke, s'.-; ping forward pronsjHiy, picked 
up the p>arcel, wipeil it and tricked it under her huge 
arm. 

""Hiank ye, Mister Yorke," she ejaculated gratefully, 
" 'tis a gentleman ye are," she glowered a moment at 
the cottage, "which is more'n I kin say fur that mon 
o' mine, th' lazy good-fur-nothin', . . . leavin' me t' 
pack all these things from th' train!" 

Like a tug drawing nigh to its mooring — and nearly 
as broad in the beam — she came to anchor on the 
front steps and kicked savagely at the door. A momen- 
tary glimpse they got of Nick Lee's face, in all its 
ruWcund helplessness, and then the door banged to. 
From an open window soon emerged the sounds as 
of a domestic broil. 

"Talk av Home Rule, an' 'Th' Voice that breathed 
o'er Eden'," murmured Slavin. "Blarney me sowll 
just hark tu ut now?" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 173 
From the cottage's interior came several high-pitched 
female squawks, punctuated by the ominous sounds as 
of violent thumps being rained upon a soft body and 
suddenly the portal disgorged Lee -in erratic haste. 
His hat presenUy followed. Dazedly awhile he sur- 
veyed the grinning trio of witnesses to his discomfiture- 
then, picking up his battered head-piece he crammed 
It down upon h-s bald cranium with a vicious, yet 
abject, gesture. 

"Th' missis seems onwell this mornin'," he mumbled 
apologetically to Slavin, "I take it yore not a married 
man, Sarjint?" 

"Eh?" ejaculated that worthy sharply, his levity 
gone on the instant. "Who — me?" Blankly he re- 
garded the miserable face of his interlocutor, one huge 
paw of a hand softly and surreptitiously caressing its 
fellow, "Nay — glory be ! I am not." 

"Har!" shrilled the Voice, its owner, fat red arms 
akimbo, blocking up the doorway, "Nick, me useless 
man! ye kin prate t' me 'bout arrestin' hoboes. I tell 
ye right now — that hobo that was a-bummin' roun' 
here t'other mornin's got nothin' on you fur sheer, 
blowed-in-th'-glass laziness." 
"Fwhat?" Slavin violently contorUng his grim face 



174 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

into a horrible semblance of persuasive gallantry edged 
cautiously towards the irate dame — much the same 
as a rough-rider will "So, ho, now I" and sidle up to 
a bad horse. "Mishtress Lee," began he, in wheedling, 
dulcet tones, "fwhat mornin' was that?" 

That lady, her capacious, matronly bosom heaving 
with emotion, eyed him suspiciously a moment. "Eh?" 
she snapped. "Why th' mornin' after th' night of 
racket between them two men at th' hotel. Th' feller 
come bummin' roun' th' back-door fur a hand-out — all 
starved t' death — just before I took th' train t' Cal- 
gary." She dabbed at the false-front of red hair, which 
had become somewhat disarranged. "La, la!" she 
murmured, "I'm all of a twitterl" 

"Some hand-out tu," remarked Slavin politely, "from 
th' face av um. . . . Fwhat was ut ye handed him, 
Mishtress Lee, might I ask? — th' flat-iron or th' 
roUin' pin?" 

"I did not! " the dame retorted indignantly. "I gave 
him a cup of coffee an' sumphin' t' eat — he was that 
cold, poor feller — an' I arst him how his face come t' 
be in such a state. He s<»Id sumphin 'bout it bein' so 
cold up in th' loft he oome down amongst th' horses 
'bout midnight — t' get warmed up. He said he was 



If' I i 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 175 

Iyin> in one o' th' mangers asleep when a feller brought 
a horse in -an' th' light woke him up an' when he 
went t' climm outa th' manger th' horse got scared an' 
pulled back an' musta stepped on this feller's foot- 
fur th' feller started swearin' at him an' pulled him 
outa th' manger an' beat him up an' — » 

But Slavin had heard enough. With a most un- 
gallant ejaculation he swung on his heel and started 
towards the stable, beckoning hastily Yorke and 
Redmond to follow. 

"Yu hear that?" he burst out on them, with lowered 
savage tones. "I knew ut - 1 felt ut at th' toime - 
that shtinkin' rapparee av a hobo was lyin' - whin he 
said he did not remimber a harse bein' brought back 
We must go get um-right-away!" His grim face 
wore a terribly ruthless expression just then. "My 
God I" he groaned out from between clenched teeth 
"but I will put th' third degree tu urn, an' make um' 
come across this toimel Saddle up, bhoysl while I go 
an' hitch up T an' B. Damnation! I wish Gully's place 
was on the phone!" 

Some quarter of an hour later they were proceeding 
rapidly towards GuDy's ranch which lay some fifteen 
miles west of Cow Run, on the lower or river trail. 



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176 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

A cold wind had sprung up and the weather had turned 
cloudy and dull, as if presaging snow, two iridescent 
"sun-dogs" indicating a forthcoming drop in the tem- 
perature. 

Yorke and Redmond, riding in the cutter's wake, 
carried on a desultory, jerky conversation anent the 
many baffling aspects of the case in hand. Gully's 
name came up. His strange personality was discussed 
by them from every angle; impartially by Yorke — 
frankly antagonistically by Redmond. 

"Yes! he is a rum beggar, in a way," admitted Yorke, 
"not a bad sort of duck, though, when you get to know 
him — when he's not in one of his rotten, brooding 
fits. He sure gets 'Charley-on-his-back' sometimes. 
Used to hit the booze pretty hard one time, they say. 
Tried the 'gold-cure' — then broke out again" — he 
lowered his voice at the huge, bear-like back of the 
sergeant — "all same him. I don't know — somehow 
— it always seems to leave em' cranky an' queer — 
that. Neither of 'em married either — 'baching it,' 
living alone, year after year, and all that, too." 

"Better for you — if you took the cure, too! " George 
flung at him grinning rudely. He neck-reined Fox 
sharply and dodged a playful punch from his comrade. 



THE I.UCK OF THE MOUNTED 177 

"Yorkey, old cock, I'm goin' to break you from 'hard 
stuff' to beer — if I have to pitch into you every 
day." 

"You're an insultin', bullyin' young beggar," re- 
marked Yorke ruefully. "I'll have to 'take shteps," as 
Burke says, and discipline you a bit, young fellow-me- 
lad! I don't wonder the old man pulled you in from 
Gleichen. Come to think of it, why, you're the bright 
boy that they say well-nigh started a muUny down 
Regina! We heard a rumour about it up here. Say, 
what was that mix-up, Reddy?" 

George chuckled vaingloriously. "All over old 
'Laddie'," he said. " 'Member that white horse? I for- 
get his regimental number, but he was about twenty-five 
years old. You remember how they'd taught him to 
chuck up his head and 'laugh'? I was grooming him 
at 'midday stables.' Old Harry Hawker was the ser- 
geant taking 'stables' that day. He was stalking up 
and down the gangway, blind as a bat, with his crop 
under his arm, and his glasses stuck on the end of his 
nose — peering, peering. Well, old Laddie happened 
to stretch himself, as a horse will, you know, stuck 
out his hind leg, and old Harry fell wallop over it 
and tore his riding-pants, and just then I said 'Laugh, 



B 



I 



178 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
Laddiel- and he chucked his old head up and wrinkled 
his lips back. Of course the fellows fairly howled 
and Harry lost his temper and let in to poor old 
Laddie with his crop. It made me mad when he 
started that and I guess I gave him some lip about 
it. He 'pegged' me for Orderly-room right-away for 
'insubordination.' 

"I pleaded 'not guilty' and got away with it, too. 
Got all kinds of witnesses - most of 'em only too 

d d glad to be able to get back at Harry for litUe 

things. Laddie was a proper pet of the Commis- 
sioner's. He used to go into No. Four Stable and 
play with the old beggar and feed him sugar nearly 
every day." 

Yorke laughed mischievously, and was silent 
awhile. "Gully's knocked about a deuce of a lot," he 
resumed presently. "Now and again hell open up a 
bit and talk, hut mostly he's as close as an oyster — 
and the way he can drop that drawl and come out 
'flat-footed' with the straight turkey -why, it'd sur- 
prise you! You'd think he was an out and out West- 
erner, born and bred. He's a mighty good man on a 
horse, and around cattle — and with a lariat. I don't 
know where the beggar's picked it up. He claims 



1 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 179 
he's only been in this country live years, lallts mostly 
about the Gold Coast, wd Shanghai, and the Congo. 
A proper 'Bully Hayes' of a man he was there, too, 
I'll betl He never says much about the States, though 
I did hear him talking to a Southerner once, and 
begad, it was funny! You could hardly teU their 
accents apart. 

"Oh, he's not a bad chap to have for a J.P. It's 
mighty hard to get any local man to accept a J.P.'s 
commission, anyway. They're most of 'em scared of 
it getting them in bad with their neighbours. GuUy — 

he doesn't care a d n for any of 'em, though. He'll 

sit on any case. It's a good thing to have a man 
who's absolutely independent, like that. I sure have 
known some spineless rotters. No, we might have a 
worse J.P. than Gullj 

"Oh, I don't know," rejoined Redmond thought- 
fully, "mny be he's all right, but, somehow ... the 
man's a kind of 'Doctor Fell' to me — has been — 
right from the first time I 'mugged' him. Chances are 
though, that it's only one of those false impressions 
a fellow gets. What's up?" 

Yorke, shading his eyes from the cutting wind was 
staring ahead down the long vista of trail. "Talk of 






i( 1 5 



180 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

the Devill" he muttered, "why! here the comes'" 

Aloud, he caUed out to Slavin. "Oh, Burke! here 
comes Gully -riding like hell. I know that Silver 
horse of his." 

And, far-off as yet, but rapidly approaching them 
at a gallop, they beh«'.H a rider. 

"Sure is hittin' th' Jgh spots," remarked the ser- 
geant wonderingly, "fwhat th' divil's up now?" 

Gradually the distance lessened between them and 
presently Gully, mounted upon a splendid, powerfully, 
built gray, checked his furious pace and reined in 
with an impatient jerk, a few lengths from the police 
team. Redmond could not help noticing that Gully 
for a heavy man, possessed a singularly-perfect seat 
in the saddle, riding with the sure, free, unconscious 
grace of an habitue of the range. He was roughly 
dressed now, in overalls, short sheepskin coat, and 
"chaps." 

He shouted a salutation to the trio, his usually 
mimobile face transformed into an expression of scowl- 
mg anxiety. "Hullo!" he boomed, his guttural bass 
soundmg hoarse with passion, "You fellows didn't 

meet that d d hobo on the trail, I suppose? 

I'm looking for him — in the worst way!" 



il! 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED x8i 

He flung out of saddle and strode alongside the 
cutter. "About two hours ago - not more, I'll swear 
- 1 pulled out to take a ride around the catUe _ like 
I usually do, every day. I left the beggar busy 
enough, bucking fire-wood. I wasn't away much over 
an hour, but when I got back I found he'd drifted - 
couldn't locate him anywhere. 

"Then I remembered I'd left some money lying 
around -inside the drawer of a bureau in my bed 
room-'bout a hundred, I guess-in one of these 
black-leather bill-folders. Sure enough, it's gone, too. 
Damnation!" 

He leaned up against the cutter and mopped his 
streammg forehead. "I was a fool to ever attempt 
to help a man like that out," he concluded bitterly 
It serves me right!" 

"WeU." said Slavin, with an oath, "th' shtiff cannot 
have got far-away in that toime. I want um as bad 
as yuh, Mr. Gully. We were on th' way tu yu're 
place forum. See here; luk!" 

Gully heard him out and whistled softly at the con- 
clu= , of the narrative. "Once collar this man. Ser- 
geant,- said he, "and -you've practically got your 
case. Make him talkP" - the low, guttural laugh was 






182 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

not good to hear — "Oh, yesl . . . I think between us 

we could accomplish that all right! . . . Yes-sl" 

His voice died away in a murmur, a cruel glint 
flickered in his shadowy eyes, and for a space he re- 
mained with folded arms and his head sunk in a so.t 
of brooding reverie. Suddenly, with an effort, he 
seemed to arouse himself. "Oh, about that inquest. 
Sergeant," he queried casually, "what was the jury's 
finding? I was forgetting all about that." 

"Eyah; on'y fwhat yuh might expect," replied the 
latter. "Death by shootin', at th' hand av some person 
unknown. I wired headquarthers right-away." He 
made a slightly impatient movement. "Well, we must 
get busy, Mr. Gully; this shtiff connot be far away. 
Not bein' on th' thrail, betune us an' yu', means he's 
either beat ut shtraight south from yu're place an' over 
th' ice tu th' railway-thrack, or west a piece, an' thin 
onto th' thrack. Yu'II niver find a hobo far away from 
th' ice tu th' railway-thrack, or west a piece, an' thin 
high ground beyant. Yuh cud shpot him plain for 
miles — doin' that — comin' along." 

"He's wearing old, worn-out boots," said Yorke, 
"got awful big feet, too, I remember. Of course this 
trail's too beaten up from end to end to be able to get 






THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 183 

a line on foot-prints. We might worlt slowly back to 
your place, though, Mr. Gully, and keep a lookout for 
any place where he may have struck south off the trail, 
as the Sergeant says." 

It seemed the only thing to do. The party moved 
leisurely forward, Gully riding ahead of the cutter, 
Yorke and Redmond in its wake, as before, well-spread 
out on either side of the well-worn trail. Here, the 
snow was practically undisturbed, affording them every 
opportunity of discovering fresh foot-prints debouching 
from the main trail. It was rather exacting, monoto- 
nous work, necessitating cautious and leisurely prog- 
ress; but they stuck to it doggedly until sometime 
later they rounded a bend in the river and came within 
sight of Gully's ranch, about a mile distant. 

Presently that gentleman pulled up and swung out 
of saddle. "Half a minute," he said, "my saddle's 
Slipping! I want to tighten my cinch." 

The small cavalcade halted. Slavin's restless eyes 
roving over the expanse of unbroken snow on his left 
hand, suddenly dilated, and he uttered an eager ex- 
clamation, pointing downwards with outflung arm. 

"Ah," said he grimly, "here we are, I'm thinkin'!" 
And he clambered hastily out of the cutter. 



i84 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Yorke and Redmond, dismounting swiftly, stepped 
forward with him and examined minutely the unmis- 
takably fresh imprints of large-sized feet angling oif 
from the trail towards the bank of the frozen river. 

"Hob-nailed boots!" ejaculated Yorke. "Guess that 
must be him, all right, B?r. Gully?" 

The latter bent and scrutinized the imprints. "Sure 
must be," he rejoined, with conviction. "A man walk- 
ing out on the ranj, is a curiosity. I can't think how 
I could have missed them — coming along. But I 
guess I was so mad, and in such a devil of i hurry I 
didn't notice much. [ made sure of catching up tohim 
somewhere on the trail." 

Slavin beckoned to Redmond and, much to that 
young gentleman's chagrin, bade him hold the lines 
of the restlebi team, while he (Slavin), along with 
Yorke and Gully, started forwards trailing the foot- 
prints. Arriving at the river's edge they slid down the 
bank and followed the tracks over the snow-covered 
ice to the centre of the river. Here was open water 
for some distance, the powerful current at this point 
keeping open a ten-foot wide steaming fissure. The 
tracks hugged its edge to a point about four hundred 
yards westward, where the fissure closed up again and 



ifif i 

■i'iFls ' 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 185 
enabled them to cross to Uie opposite bank. Clamber- 
ing up this their quest --d then across a long stretch 
of comparatively lev-;! ground to the fenced-in rail- 
way-track. 

Ducking under the lower strand of wiie they reached 
the line. At the foot of the graded road-bed, Slavin, 
who was ahead, halted suddenly and uttered an oath. 
Stooping down he picked up something and, turning 
round to his companions exhibited his find. It was a 
smal', black-leather bill-folder — empty. 

Gully regarded his lost property with smouldering 
eyes, and he uttered a ghastly imprecation. "Yes, 
that's it," he said simply, "beggar's boned the bills and 
chucked this away for fear of incriminating evidence 
— in car" he was nabbed rgain, I suppose. The bills 

were mostly in fives and tens — Standard Bank I 

remember." 

They climbed up onto the track to determine whether 
the foot-prints turned east or west; but further qutst 
here proved useless, on account . f its being a snow- 
beaten section-hand trail. 

Slavin balked aga'n, swore in fluent and horrible 
fashion. For a space he remained in brooding thought, 
then he turned abruptly to his companions. 



186 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

'•Come on," he jerked out savagely, "let's get back." 
In silence they retraced their steps and eventually 
reached their horses. Here the sergeant issued curt 
orders to his oien. 

"Tis onlikely th' shtiff can have got very far 
away — in th' toime Mr. Gully tells us," he said, "an' 
he cannot shtay out in th' opin for long this weather. 
Get yu're harses over th' ice, bhoys, an' make th' 
thrack. Ye'll find an' openin' in th' fence somewheres. 
Thin shplit, an' hug th' line — west, yu', Yorkey — as 
far as Coahnorc — yu', RidmoncJ — back tu Cow Run. 
Yez know fwhat tu du. Pass up nothin' — culverts, 
bridges, section-huts — anywhere's th' shtiff may be 
hidin'. If yez du not dhrop onto um betune thim tu 
places — shtay fwhere yez are an' search all freights. 
'Phone th' agent at Davidsburg if yez want tu get 
me. I'm away from there now — to wire east an' west. 
Thin — I'm goin' tu ride freight awhile, up an' down 
th' thrack, I can get Clem Wilson tu luk afthcr T 
an' B. We must get this man, bhoys." 

"Look here, Sergeant," broke in Gully good-na- 
turedly, "as this is partly on my account I feel it's 
up to me to try and do what little I can do to help 
you in this case. There's not much doing at the ranch 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 187 

just now, so, if you ve no objection, I'll put Silver 
along with your team and come with ou. As you 
say- we've simply got to get this fellow, somehow " 
"Thank ye, Mr. Gully," responded Slavin grate- 
fully, "betune th' bunch av us w. shud nail th' shtiff 
all right." 

"Should!" agreed the magistrate, enigmatically, 
'stiff's' the word for t,." He glanced up at the 
lowering sky. "Hullol It's beginning to snow again 
-you foui,d those tracks just in time. Sergeant." 

Six days elapsed. Six days of fru ess, monotonous 
work. The evening of the seventh round the trio dis- 
consolately reunited in their detachment. Their quest 
had failed. Slavin, not sparing himself, had w 
Yorke and Redmond to the limits of their endura ..e 
and they, fully realizing the importance of their ob-' 
jective, had responded loyally. 

Gully, apparently betraying a keen interest in the 
case, had gone out of his way to assist them -both 
on the railroad and in scouring the country-side. They 
were absolutely and utterly played out, and their 
nerves were jangled and snappy. No possible hiding- 
place had been overlooked — yet the hobo -Dick 



i88 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Drinkwater — the one man who undoubtedly held the 
key to the mysterious murder of Larry Blake — had 
disappeared as completely as if the earth had swal- 
lowed him up. 

The horses cared for, and supper over, Yorke and 
Redmond lay back on their cots and blagui'd each 
other wearily anent their mutual ill-luck. Slavin, 
critically conning over a lengthy crime-report on the 
case that he had prepared for headquarters, flung his 
composition on the table and leant back dejectedly 
in his chair. 

"Hoboes?" quoth he, darkly, and tongue-clucked in 
dismal fashion. "Eyah! I just fancy I can hear th' 
ould man dishcoursin' tu Kilbride av th' merry, int'- 

■■ ' ways an' habits av th' genus — hobo — whin 
he get's this report av mine. . . . Like he did wan 
day whin he was doin' show-man round th' cells wid 
a bunch av ould geezers av 'humanytaruns.' I mipd 
I was Actin' Provo' in charge av th' Gyard-room at 
th' toime." 

He sighed deeply, folded up the report and thrust 
it into an official envelope. "Well, bhoys," he con- 
cluded, "we have done all that men can — for th' 
toime bein' anyways." 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 189 
Yorke laughed somewhat mirthlessly and gazed 
dreamUy up at his pictures. "Sure have," he agreed 
languidly; "from now on, though, I guess we'll just 
have to take a leaf out of Micawber's book — 'wait 
for something to turn up,' eh, Reddy, my old son?" 

There was no answer. That young worthy, utterly 
exhausted, had drifted into the arms of Morpheus 



Hli 



CHAPTER X 

A jest's prosperity lies in the ear 

Of him that hears it, never in the tongue 

Of him that makes it. 

SHAKtSPEARE. 

NUMBER SIX, from the East, drew up at the 
small platform of Davidsburg and presently 
steamed slowly on its way westward, minus 
three passengers. 

"Well, bhoys," said Sergeant Slavin to his hench- 
men, "here we are — back tu th' land av our dhreams 
wanst more. Glory be! But I'm glad tu be quit av 
that warrm, shtinkin' courthroom. Denis Ryan — th' 
ould rapparee, he wint af ther us harrd — in that last 
case. Eyah! But I thrimmed um in th' finals. Wan 
Oirishman cannot put ut over another wan." 

He softly rubbed his huge hands together. "Five 
years! That'll tache Mishter Joe Lawrence tu go 
shtickin' his brand on other people's cattle! But — 
blarney me sowl! R}ran sure is a bad man tu run 
up agin when he's actin' for th' defence." 
190 



ill,! ' 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 191 

The trio had just returned from a Supreme Court 
sitting where they had been handling their various 
cases. It was a gloriously sunny day in June. A wet 
spring, succeeded by a spell of hot weather, had trans- 
formed the range into a rolling expanse of green, over 
which meandered bunches of horses and cattle, their 
sleek hides and well-rounded bodies proclaiming abun- 
dant assimilation of nourishing pasture. ^ 

To men who for the past week had of necessity 
been confined within the stifling atmosphere of a 
crowded court-room, their present surroundings ap- 
pealed as especially restful and exhilarating. During 
their absence their horses had been enjoying the 
luxury of a turn-out in the fenced pasture at the rear 
of the detachment, where there was good feed and a 
spring. 

The murder of Larry Blake the previous winter stiU 
remained a baffling mystery. Locally it had proved, 
as such occurrences usually do, merely a proverbial 
nine days wonder. Long since, in the stress and in- 
terest of current events, it had faded more or less 
from the minds of all men, excepting the Mounted 
Police, who, though saying little concerning it, stiU 
kept keenly on the alert for any possible due. 



B\ 



W.; 



m 



192 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Equally mystifying was the uncanny disappearance of 
the hobo — Drinkwater. So far that individual had 
succeeded in eluding apprehension, although minute 
descriptions of him had been circulated broadcast to 
police agencies throughout Canada and the United 
States. 

"Eyahl" Sergeant Slavin was wont to remark 
sagely: " 'Tis an culd sayin', bhoys — 'Murdher will 
out' — we'll sure dhrop onto it sooner or lather, an' 
thin belike we'll get th' surprise av our lives — for I 
firmly believe, as Kilbride said — 't'will prove tu be 
some lokil man who had a grudge agin' pore Larry 
for somethin' or another. So — just kape on quietly 
watchin' — an' listh'nin, an' we'll nail that fella yet." 

Just now that worthy was surveying his subordi- 
nates with a care-free smile of bonhomie. "Guess well 
dhrop inta th' shtore on our way up" suggested he, 
"see'f there's any mail, an' have a yam wid ould Mac- 
David." 

Half way up the long, winding, graded trail that 
led to the detachment, the trio turned into another trail 
which traversed it at this point. Following this for 
some few hundred yards westward they reached the 
substantial abode of Morley MacDavid, who was, as 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 193 

his name suggested, the hamlet's oldest setUer and it's 
original founder. 

His habitation -combining store, post-office, and 
ranch-house — was a commodious frame dwelling, un- 
pretentious in appearance but not wanting in'evi- 
dences of prosperity. Its rear presented the usual 
aspect of a ranch, with huge, well-built barns and 
corrals. Although it was summer, many wide stacks 
of hay and green oats, apparently left over from the 
previous season, suggested that he was a cautious man 
with an eye to stock-feeding during the winter months. 
To neglect of the precaution of putting up sufficient 
feed to tide over the severe weather might be attrib- 
uted most of the annual ranching failures in the West. 
The MacDavid establishment bore a well-ordered as- 
pect, unlike many of the unthrifty, ramshackle ranches 
of his neighbours. The fencing was of the best, and 
there were no signs of decay or dilapidation in any 
of the buildings. Dwarf pines were planted about 
and a Morning Glory vine over-ran the house, giving 
the place an air of rrstful domesticity. As they en- 
tered the store the trio noticed a saddle-horse tied to 
the hitching-rail outside. 
They were greeted joviaUy by MacDavid himself. 



i 



i;iit!l 



194 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Lounging behind his store-counter, with his back up 
against a slung pack of coyote skins, he was listening 
in somewhat bored fashion to a talkative individual 
opposite. He evidently hailed their arrival as a wel- 
come diversion. In personality, Morley MacDavid was 
an admirable type of the western pioneer. A tall, 
slimly-built, but wiry, active man of fifty, or there- 
abouts, with grizzled hair and moustache. Burnt out 
and totally ruined three successive times in the past by 
the depredations of marauding Indians, the fierce, in- 
domitable energy of the broken man had asserted itself 
and enabled him finally to triumph over all his mis- 
chances. Aided in the struggle by his devoted wife, 
who throughout the years had bravely faced all dangers 
and hardships with him, he had eventually accumulated 
a hard-won fortune. In addition to *he patronage that 
he received from the local ranches, he conducted an 
extensive business trading with the Indians from the 
big Reserve in the vicinity. A man of essentially 
simple habits, through sentiment or ingrained thrifti- 
ness, he disdained to abandon the routine and the 
scenes of his former active life, although his bank- 
balance and his holdings in land and stock probably ex- 
ceeded that of many a more imposing city magnate. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 193 

The newcomers, disposing themselves comfortably 
upon various sacked commodities, proceeded to smoke 
and casually inspect the voluble stranger. He was a 
tallish, well-built man nearing middle-age, with a gray 
moustache, a thin beak of a nose, and a bleached-blue 
eyes. He was dressed in an old tweed suit, obviously 
of English cut, a pair of high-heeled, spurred riding- 
boots and a cowboy hat. Vouchsafing a brief nod to 
the visitors he continued his conversation with Mac- 
David. 

"Ya-as," he was drawling, "one of the most extraor- 
dinary shots you wer heard of, Morley! I was be- 
tween the devil and the deep sea — properly. There 
was the bear — rushing me at the double and there 
was the cougar perched growling up on the rock be- 
hind me. I made one jump sideways and let the bear 
have it — slap through the brain, and. . . that same 
shot, sir, ricocheted up the face of the rock and killed 
the cougar — just as he was in the act of springing! 
By George, y'know, it was one of the swiftest things 
that ever happened!" 

A tense silence succeded the conclusion of this thrill- 
ing narrative. 

MacDavid re-lit his pipe and puffed thoughtfully 



m 
Mj 



196 THE I.UCK OF THE MOUNTED 

awhile. "Eyah," he remarked reminiscently, "feller 
does run up against some swift propositions now an' 
again. I mind one time I was headin' home from Kana- 
naskis, an' a bear jumped me from behind a fallen log. 
The lever of me rifle jammed so, all I could do was to 
beat it — in a hurry — an' I sure did hit th' high spots, 
you bet I It was in th' early spring an' th' snow still 
lay pretty deep, but — I'd got a twenty yards start of 
tbr.t bear, an' I finally beat him to it an' made my get- 
away." 

The stranger whistled incredulously. "Wha-a-tt!" 
he almost shouted, "D'ye mean to tell me that bear 
got within twenty yards of you and couldn't catch you? 
Why, man ! It's incredible ! " 

"Fact," replied MacDavid calmly, knocking the 
ashes out of his pipe, "It was this way: It was near th' 
edge of th' bush where th' bear first jumped me, an' — 
just as we hit th' open ground — one o' them warm 
Chinook winds sprung up behind us, travellin' 
east. . . . 

"Man!" He paused impressively. "The way that 
wind started in to melt th' snow was a corker — just 
like lard in a fryin'-pan. But — I just managed to 
keep ahead of it an' while I had a good, hard surface 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 197 

of snow to run on, the bear — why he was sloppin 
around in th' slush in my wake — couldn't get a firm 
foothold, I guess. . . ." 

His keen blue orbs stared full into the bleached ones 
of his vis-i-vis. 

"I figure that there Chinook an' me«n' th' bear must 
have been all travellin' 'bout th' same line of speed — 
kind of swift. After a mile or two of it, th' bear — he 
got fed up an' quit cold," he ended gravely. "Why — 
what's your hurry, Fred?" 

But that individual, feebly raising t«th arms with 
a sort of hopeless gesture, suddenly grabbed up his 
mail and beat a hasty retreat to his horse. 

The hoof-beats died away and MacDavid turned to 
the grinning policemen. "Fred Storey," he said, in 
answer to their looks of silent enquiry. "Runs th' 
R.U. Ranch, out south here. Not a bad head, but" — 
he sighed deeply — "he's such an ungodly liar. I 
can't resist gettin' back at him now an' again — just 
for luck. He's up here on a visit — st^yin' with th' 
Sawyers." 

"H-mm!" ejaculated Yorke, "seems to me I've got 
a hazy recollection of meeting up with that fellow 
before — somewhere. In a hotel in High River, 



j: 
m 



198 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

I think it was. Beggar was yarning about Cuba, 
1 remember." 

"Bet it was hazy all right," was Redmond's sarcastic 
rejoiner, "lilie moat of your bar-room recollections, 
Yorkey." He gave vent to a snorting chuckle. "That 
'D'you know? Ya! yal' accent of his reminds me of 
that curate in 'The Private GecreUry." I saw it played 
in Toronto, once." 

At this juncture the door opened, and a trio of 
Indians padded softly into the store with gaily-beaded, 
moccasined feet. Two elderly bucks and a young 
squaw. The latter flashed a shy, roguish grin at the 
white men, and then with the customary effacement of 
Indian women withdrew to the rear of thi? store. 
Squatting down, all huddled-up in her blanket, she 
peered at them with the incurious, but ail-seeing stare 
of her tribe. George got an impression of beady black 
eyes and a brown, rounded, child-like face framed in 
a dazzling yellow kerchief. 

The two bucks, with a momentary gleam of welcome 
wrinkling their ruthless, impassive features, exchanged 
a salutation with MacDavid in guttural Cree, which 
language the latter spoke fluently. They were clothed 
in the customary fashion of their Uibe — with a sort of 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 199 

blanket-capote garment reaching below the knee, their 
lower limbs swathed in strips of blanket, wound puttee- 
wise. Battered old felt hats comprised their head-gear, 
below which escaped two plaited pig-tails of coarse,' 
mane-ijke, black hair, the latter parted at the nape of 
the leck and dangling forward down their broad chests. 
Slavin and Yorke hailed them familiarly. The elder 
buck rejoiced in the sonorous title of "Minne-tronk- 
ske-wan," but divers convirticns for insobriety under 
the Indian Liquor Act, and the facetious tongue of 
Yorke, had contorted this into the somewhat oppro- 
brious nickname of "Many Drunks." His companion 
was known as "Sun Dog." 

They now proceeded to shake hands all around. 
"How! Many Drunks!" shouted Yorke. Pointing to 
Redmond, he added "oweski shemoganish" (new police- 
man). With a ferocious grin, intended for an in- 
gratiating smile of welcome, Many Drunks advanced 
upon George, with outstretched hand. In a rapid aside 
Yorke said: "Listen, Reddy, to what he says, he only 
knows six or seven words of English, but he's as proud 
as Punch of 'em — always likes to get 'em off on a 
stranger. Don't laugh!" 
Within a pace of Redmond that gentleman halted. 



m 



I 



J 'm' 



200 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Howl" he grunted, and, pausing impressively drew 
himself up and tapped his inflated chest, "Minne-tronk- 
ske-wanl . . . great man! — me — " 

And then Redmond nearly choked, as Many Drunks, 
with intense gravity, proudly conferred upon himself 
the most objectionable title that exists in four words 
of the English language — rounding that same off with 
a majestic "Wah! wahl" 

Turning, George beheld himself the target of covert 
grins from the others, who evidently were familiar with 
Many Drunks' linguistic attainments. Sun Dog merely 
uttered "Howl Shemoganish." He did not profess 
ability to rise to the occasion like his companion. 

Yorke, who was evidently in one of his reckk 
rollicking moods, proceeded to make certain teasing 
overtures to Many Drunks. His knowledge of Cree 
being nearly us limited as that worthy's knowledge of 
English, he enlisted the aid of MacUavid as interpreter. 
The dialogue that ensued was something as follows: 

"Tell him I'm fed up with the Force and am thinking 
seriously of going to live on the reserve — monial 
nayanok-a-weget — turn 'squaw-man' — 'take the 
blanket.' " 

MacDavid translated swiftly, received the answer. 






THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 201 

and turned to Yorke. "He says 'Aie-/ia/ (yes) You 
make good squaw-man.' " 

"Ask him — if I do — if he'll muskkalonamwat 
(trade) me the young lady over in the corner there, for 
two bottles of skutiawpwt (whiskey)." 

"He says "Nemoyahl" (no) — if he does that, you'll 
turn around and kojipyhok (arrest) him for having 
liquor in his possession." 

"Tell him — Nemoyahl I won't." 

"He says Aie-hat ekweci/ (Yes, all right) you can 
have her. Says she's his brother's wife's niece. But he 
says you must give him the two botUes of skutiawpwi 
first, though." 

The object of these frivolous negotiations had mean- 
while covered her head with the blanket, from the 
folds of which issued shrill giggles. Sun Dc^, who 
had been listening intently with hand scooped to ear 
(he was somewhat deaf), now precipitated himself into 
the discussion. Violently thrusting his elder companion 
aside he commenced to harangue MacDavid in an ex- 
cited voice and with vehement gestures of disapproba- 
tion of tile whole proceedings. The trader translated 
swiftiy: 

"He says Nemoyahl — not to give Uie botties to 



m 



!i|6 



f,fi!| 
k 



202 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Many Drunks, as when he gets full of skutiainpwk he 
raises hell on th' reserve, an' there's no livin' with him. 
Says he beats up his squaw an' starts in to scalp th' 
dogs an' chickens." 

"Shtop ut!" bawled Slavin,"d'ju hear, Yorkey? . . . 
shtoolin' th' nitchie on tu commit a felony an' th' like, 
thataways!" He sniffed disgustedly. "Skutiawpwd 
an' squaws f . . . blarney me sowl! but ye've a quare 
idea av a josh. 'Tis a credit y'are tu th' Quid Counthry, 
an' no error. I do not wondher ye left ut." 

"Sh-sh!" said that gentleman soothingly, "coarsely 
put, Burke! coarsely put! . . . Say Wine and Women, 
guv'nor! Wine and Women! If you were in India, 
Burke, they'd make you Bazaar-Sergeant — put you in 
charge of the morals of the regiment. Both items are 
all right — always providing you don't get a lady like 
Misthress Lee for a chaser. How'd you like to be in 
Nick's shoes? What 'shteps' would you take?" 

Slavin stared at his tormentor, blankly, a moment. 
"Shteps?" he ejaculated sharply, "fwhat shteps? . . . 
He leant back with a fervent sigh and softly rubbed 
his huge hands together. "Long wans, avick! . . . 
eyah, d d long wans, begorrah!" 

Many Drunks now realizing that he was merely the 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 203 
victim of a joke, scowled in turn upon Yorke. Mutter- 
ing something to MacDavid he backed up against the 
wall and, squatting down, proceeded philosophically to 
fill his pipe. 

"What's that he said?" queried Yorke of the inter- 
preter, "I couldn't catch it." 

The latter grinned. "He says -of all the white 
men he's ever met in his time, Stamixotokon* and my 
self are the only ones he's ever known to tell th' 
truth." 

"It's my belief the beggar'd flirt with Mrs. Lee, 
himself, if he only got the chance" said Redmond 
laconically, "d'you recollect that day he picked her 
parcel up for her — how nice she was to him?" 

"Eyah," said Slavin darkly, "I remimber ut! That 
man" — he darted an accusing finger at Yorke — "wud 
thry tu come th' Don Jewan wid anything wid a shkirrt 
on — from coast to coast. Flirrt? Yeh're tellin' th' 
trute, bhoy, yeh're tellin' th' trute! He'd a-raade a 
good undhershtudy for ould Nobby Guy, down 
Regina." 



Note by Author -The late Colonel Macleod, who for many years 
was Commissioner of the R.N.W.M. Police. He was greaUv re. 
spected and trusted by aU the Indian tribes 



n 



204 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

He settled himself comfortably and lit his pipe. 
"Eyah, th' good ould days, th' good ould days!" he 
resumed reminiscently, between puffs, "Hark now till 
I tell ye th' tale av ould Nobby!" 

"Is that the man they used to josh about, down 
Regina?" enquired Redmond. "Used to say 'I'm a 
man of few words?' " 

Slavin nodded affirniatively. "That's him, Sarjint 
in charrge av th' town station he was — years back. 
This is — whin I was Corp'ril at headquarthers. A 
foine big roosther av a man was Nobby, wid a mighty 
pleasant way wid um — 'specially wid th' ladies. Wan 
night — blarney me sowl! Will I iver forghet ut? 
Nobby 'phones up th' Gyard-room reporthin' th' 
Iroquois Hotel on fire, an' requestin' th' O.C. for a 
shquad av men tu help fight ut, an' kape th' crowd 
back. So down we wint, a bunch av us. It sure was a 
bad fire all right. No lives was lost, but th' whole 
shebang was burnt tu th' ground. Kapin' th' crowd 
back was our hardest job. Du fwhat we cud, we cud 
not make some av th' silly fules kape back clear av th' 
danger-zone — wimmin an' all, bedadl 

"By and by, a section av the wall tumbles an' quite 
a bunch av people got badly hurt — Nobby amongst 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 205 
thto We dhragged thim out as quick as we cud an' 
laid them forninst th' wall av a buildin' near-by - 
awaithin' some stretcher-bearers. Nobby'd got his le« 
bruk, but he seemed chipper enough an' chewed th' rag 
w.d us awhile. Next tu him was a wumman - cryin' 
someOimg pitiful - she'd got her leg bruk, tu. Nobby 
rised him up on his elbow an' lukked at her 

"Now, 'tis powerful dhry wurrk, bhoys, iightin' 
fire, an' may be Nobby-well, I cannot account for 
ut otherwise-him havin' th' nerve' tu du' fwhat he 
did-onless p'raps 't'was just th' natch'ril tindher- 
hearthedness av th' man - thryin' for tu comfort her. 
Afther that wan luk tho', Nobby he 'comes tu th' 
halt, so tu shpake, an' 'marks time' awhile considherin' 
-for becod, she was a harrd-Iukkin ould case- 
long beyant mark av mouth. 

"Pr^intly, sez he: 'I'm a man av few wurrds! - 

tis ofthen I have kissed a yomg wumman!' -an' he 

thwirls th' big buck m stache av um very slow- 

fwhy shud I not kiss an ould wan? . . .'_a«' he 

did. , . , 

"That's how th' man's throuble shtarted. Brought 
ut all on umsilf. Course at th' toime, fwhy! she 
slapped th' face av um an' called um all manner av 



f]!i 



206 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

harrd names — but, ai th' same! she must have liked 
ut, for while they was convalescin' she was everlasht- 
ingly sendhin Nobby notes an' flowers an' such like. 
But for £.11 that Nobby wud have no thruck wid her, 
for all she was a widder, wW fixed — wid a house av 
her own an' lashuns av n.oney. Whin they was both 
out av hospital she was afther um again, an' du fwhat 
he cud he cud not shake that wumman. 

"Th' ind av ut was. Nobby reports sick, an' th' 
reg'minthal docthor, ould 'Knockemorf Probyn, 
gives um th' wance over. He luks over some papers 
an' sez he: 'A change an' a rist is fwhat yu' need, 
Sarjint Guy. There's a dhraft leavin' next week for 
Herschell Island* — I think I will mark yu up fur ut.' 

" 'Herschell Island?' sez pore Nobby, an' wid that 
he let's 0;:'. a howl. 

"'Tut, tut!' sez ould Knockemorf, who was wise 
tu th' man's throuble 'Tis safer off there'll yu'll be, 
man, than here, I'm thinkin'.' 

"He was shtandin' by th' Gyard-room gate that day- 
week whin th' dhraft marched out on their way tu 
enthrain — Nobby amongst thim. 'Good-bye, Doc- 

•Note by Author — This island is in the Arctic Circle. The most 
northerly post of the R.N.W.M. Police. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 207 
thorl ' he calls out, tears in th' eyes av um, ' 'Tis sendhin 
me tu me grave y'are, God forgive yez!' 

" 'Nonsincel ' shouts Knockemorf. 'Say yeh prayers 
an' kape yeh bowils opin, me man, an' ye will take no 
harrm!' 

"Some sind-offl well! ^ time wint on, an' wan day 
I gets a letther from me ould friend. Ginger Johnson 
who was stationed there tu, tellin' me all th' news' 
Nobby, sez he, was doin' fine, fat as a hog, an' happy 
as a coon in a melun patch. Wan day, sez he, a buck 
av th' name av Wampy Jones comes a runnin' inta 
th' Post, wid th' face av a ghost an' th' hair av um 
shtickin shtraight up. Said a Polar bear'd popped out 
formnst a hummock an' chased um — like tu th' tale 
av Morley, here. Nobby, sez Johnson, on'y grins at 
Ih' man, an' sez he: 'That's nothin'!' An' thin he 
shtarts in tellin' thim all 'bout this widder at Regina " 



m 



^Mf 



CHAPTER XI 

ifethougkt I heard a voice cry, 
Macbeth shall sleep no more! 



UACBITH. 



THE sergeant's story evoked a general laugh from 
his hearers. He arose and knocked the ashes 
out of his pipe. "Come on, bhoysl" said he. 
"Let's beat ut. Morley here's a respectable married 
man — we've bin demoralisin' him an' his store long 
enough, I'm thinkin'." 

I ocketing his packet of mail he and his subordinates 
stepped to the door, MacDavid casually following them 
outside. Tethered to the hitching-post, they noticed, 
were the team of scare-crow cayuses belonging to 
Sun Dog and Many Drunks. 

"Poor beggars look as if a turn-out on the range 
wouldn't do them any harm," remarked Redmond. 

The thud of hoof-beats suddenly fell upon their ears 
and, turning, they beheld Gully on his gray horse 
loping past them, about twenty yards distant. 
Apparently in a hurry, he merely waved to them and 

io8 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 209 

rode on, heading in the direction of his ranch. And 
then occurred a starUing, sinister incident which no 
man there who witnessed it ever forgot. 

Suddenly, with the vicious instinct of Indian curs, 
three dogs which had been sprawling in the shade of 
the dilapidated wagon-box sprang forward simul- 
taneously in a silent, savage dash at the horse's heels. 
The nervous animal gave a violent jump, nearly un- 
seating its rider, who pitched forward onto the saddle- 
horn. 

They heard his angry, startled oath, and saw him 
jerk his steed up and whirl about, then, quick as con- 
juring, came a darting movement of his right hand 
between the lapels of his coat and a pistol-barrel 
gleamed in the sun. 

The curs, by this time, were flying back to the shelter 
of the wagon-box, but ere they reached it — crack! 
crack 1 crack! three shots rang out in quick succession, 
and three lumps of quivering canine flesh sprawled 
grotesquely on the prairie. 

The startled spectators stared aghast. Startled — 
for, though all of them there were more or less trained 
shots, such swift, deadly gunmanship as this was utterly 
beyond their imaginations. Gully had made no pre- 



210 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
tence at aiming. With a snapping action of his wrist 
he had seemed to literally fling the shots at the retreat- 
ing dogs. It was the practised whirl and flip of the 
iinished gun-man. 

No less astounding was the uncanny legerdemain 
displayed in drawing from and replacing the weapon 
in its place of concealment The Indians, atUacted 
from the store by the sounds of shooting, began gab- 
bling and gesticulating affrightedly, but when Mac- 
David spoke to them sharply in Cree they retreated 
inside again. 

Some diswiice away, glaring at the dead dogs, the 
justice sat in his saddle, and from beneath his huge 
moustache he spat a volley of most un-magisterial 
oaths, delivered in a snarling, nasal tone foreign to 
the ears of his listeners. A minute or so he remained 
thus, then his baleful eyes met the steady, meaning 
stare of the motionless quartette and his face changed 
to a blank, irresolute expression. He made a motion of 
urging his horse forward, then, checking it abruptly, 
he wheeled about, loping away in his original direction. 
The trader was the first one to find his voice. 
"Well, my God!" he ejaculated. "Did you ever see 
th' like o' that?" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 211 

His companions remained curiously silent. "Gully 1 " 
he continued, with vibrating voice, "whoever'd 
a-thought that that drawlin' English dude could shoot 
I'ke that?... Fred Storey should have been 

here " Still getting no response to his remarks 

he glanced up wonderingly. The three policemen 
were staring strangely at each other, and something 
m their expression startled him. 

"Eh! Why! What's up?" he queried sharply. 
Then Slavin spoke grimly. "Let's go luk at thim 
dogs," was all he vouchsafed. 

They stepped forward and inspected the carcasses 
critically. "Fifty yards away, if he was a foott" 
said Redmond, "and he dropped them in one! two! 
three! ..." 

"Slap through the head, too!" muttered Yorke 
"Burke! "-he added suddenly. Slavin met his eye 
with a steady, meaning stare; then, at something he 
read m his subordinate's face, the sergeant's deep-set 
orbs dilated strangely and he swung on his heel. 

"Aye! " h( ejaculated with an oath "I was forghettin' 
thim-come bhoys! let's go luk for thim. Shpread 
out, or we may miss the place." 

"Empty shells," explained Yorke to the others. 



I 



) I 



13 ; 



212 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"automatic ejection — you remember, Reddyl We 
may iind them." 

Keeping a short distance apart, they sauntered for- 
ward, trying to recall the spot Gully had shot from. 
For awhile, with bent heads, they circled slowly about 
each other, carefully scrutinizing the short turf. Pres- 
ently the trader uttered a low exclamation. "Here's 
th' place!" he said, pointing downwards. The othert 
joined him and they all gazed at the cluster of deeply- 
indented hoof-marks, indicating where the horse had 
propped and whirled about. 

"Aha! "said Redmond, suddenly. 
"Got ut?" queried Slavin. 

For answer George dropped a small discharged shell 
into the other's outstretched palm. The sergeant 
made swift examination. A shocking blasphemy 
escaped him, and for an instant he jerked back his 
arm as if to fling the article away, then, recovering 
himself with an effort, he handed it to Yorke, who 
peered in turn. 

The latter made a wry face. "Hell!" he ejaculated 
disgustedly, "it's a 'Savage' this - thirty-two at 
that!" He lowered his voice. "The other was a 
thirty-eight Luger — what?" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 213 

"Time an' agin," Slavin was declaiming in impotent 
rage and with upraised fist, — "Time an' ag'in - have 
we shtruck a lead on this blasted case — on'y tu find 

ut peter out agin Oh! how long, O Lord? how 

long? . . ." 

MacDavid stopped in turn. "Here's th' other two, 
Sarjint," he said. Slavin dropped the shells into his 
pocket and for a space he remained in deep thought. 
Then he turned to the trader. 

"Morley," he said quietly, "yu're not a talker, I 
know, but -anyways! ... I ask ye now .. . ye'll 
oblige me by shpakin' av this tu no man - yet awhiles 
■ . . -Ihavemeraysons — onnershtand?" 

The eyes of the two men met, and question and 
answer were silently exchanged in that one significant 
look. 

MacDavid nodded brief acquiescence to the other's 
request. "Aye!" he replied reflectively, "I think I 
do — now. . . ." 

The sergeant turned to his men. "Come on, bhoys ' " 
he said. "Let's beat ut home. I'm gettin' hungry." 

They bid the trader adieu, and trudged away in the 
cLrection of the detachment. They had covered some 
quarter f a mile in silence when Slavin, who was in 



f 

lii 



a 14 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

the lead, suddenly halted and whirled on his subordi- 
nates with a mirthless laugh. 

"Windy Moran, begodi" he burst out, "mind fwhat 
he said that day 'bout Gully an' that dep'ty sheriff 

bizness? ... not so 'Windy' afther all, I'm 

thinkin', eh?" 

For some few seconds they sUred at him, aghast. 
They had forgotten Moran. 

"Say, Burke, though?" ejaculated Yorke incredu- 
lously. "Good God! somehow the thing seems im- 
possible ... not the 'sheriff' business so much 
the other -Gully! -a J.P._a man of his class 
and Standing! . . . Why! whatever motive — " 
"He may have two guns," broke in Roiln, i .d. 
"Eyah," agreed Slavin, grimly, "he may. ... A 
Luger's a mighty diff'runt kind av a gun tu other 
authomatics ... an' th' man that shoi Larry Blake 
ain't likely tu be fule enough tu risk packin' ut around 
— for a chance tu thrip um up some day." 

For awhile the trio cogitated in silence; each man 
striving desperately to arrive at some logical solution to 
the extraordinary problem that now faced them. 

"Bhoys!" said Slavin presently, "there's no doubt 
there is . . . somethin' damnably wrong 'bout all this. 



II 



I 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 215 

But, all th' same, fact remains, ye cannot shtart in 
makin' th' Force a laughin' stock by charrgin' a man av 
Gully's position wid murdher - widout mighty shtrong 
evidence tu back ut. An' sizin' things up — fwhat 
have we got, afther all, . . . right now . . . tu shwear 
out a warrant on? . . . Nothin', really, 'cept thaf he's 
shown us he's a bad man wid a gun! A damned bad 
break that was, tho', an' I'll bet he's sorry for that 
same, tu. Mind how he kept on thravellin', widout 
comin' back tu shpake wid us?" 

He shook his head slowly, in sinister fashion, and 
stared at their troubled faces in turn. "See here; luk," 
he resumed solemnly, with lowered voice, "honest tu 
God, in me own mind T du believe he is th' man that 
done ut." He paused — "but provin' ut's a diff'runt 
matther. We must foUer this up an' get some shtronger 
evidence yet — behfure we make th' break." 

Suddenly he uttered a hollow chuckle. "Kilbride!" 
he ejaculated. "Mind his josh that day — 'bout it 
might be me, or Gully? — an how Gully laughed, 
tu, wid th' hand of um like this?" 

Napoleonic fashion he thrust his huge fist between 
the buttons of his stable-jacket. 

"Yes, by gad!" said Yorke reflectively. "I sure do 



m 



II 






2i6 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

now. And I'll bet he had his right hand on his gun, 
too! Force of habit, I guess, if he's an ex-deputy- 
sheriff. From what little he's dropped he's sure 
knocked around some, I know. Hard to say where, 
and what the beggar hasn't been in his time. This' 
accounts for him being so blooming close about the 
Western States. It's always struck me as being queer, 
that, because, say, look at the slick way he rides and 
ropes! He's never picked that up in five years over 
on this Side — and that's all he claims he's been in 
Canada." 

"Besides" chimed in Redmond, eagerly, "that yam 
of his about that hobo swiping his dough. Sergeant! 
'Frame-up,' p'raps, ... gave it to him and told him 
to beat it? . . ." 

"Aw, rot!" said Yorke, disgustedly. He sniffed with 
his peculiar mannerism, "that's dime-novel stuff, Red. 
D'ye think he'd be fool enough to risk that, with the 
chances of the fellow being picked up any minute and 
squealing on him?" He was silent a moment. "Rum 
thing, though," he murmured, "the way that hobo 
did beat us to it." 

" 'Some lokil man,' sez Kilbride," remarked Slavin 
musingly. "Just th' last one ye'd think av suspectin'. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 217 

An' Gully, bego>i, sittin' right there! ... talk 'bout 
nerve! . . ." 

"But, goo i heavens!" burst out Yorke. "Whoever 
would have jxi-pecied jim?" He laughed a trifle 
bitterly. "It's all very well for us to turn round now 
and say 'what fools we've been,' and all that. If we'd 
have been the smart, 'never-make-a-mistake' Alecks, 
like we're depicted in books, why, of course we'd have 
'deducted' this right-away. I suppose? Oh, Ichabod! 
Ichabod! An Englishman, too, by gad! I'll forswear 
my nationality." 

"Whatever could he have on Larry, though?" was 
Redmond's bewildered query. "Say, that sure was a 
hell of a trick of his — using Windy's horse — while 
the two of them were scrapping — trying to frame it up 
on him!" 

"Eyah," soliliquised the sergeant sagely. " 'Twill 
all come out in th' wash. Whin diver, edjucated 
knockabouts like Gully du go bad, begob, they make th' 
very wurrst kind av criminals. They kin pass things 
off wid th' high hand an' kape their nerve betther'n th' 
roughnecks — ivry toime. 

"Think av that terribul murdherer, Deeming — an' 
thim tu docthors — Pritchard an' Pahner, colludge 



m j 



im 



218 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

men, all av thim. An' not on'y men, but wimmin, tu. 
Member Mrs. Maybrick? All movin' in th' hoighth av 
society!" 

He was silent a moment, then his face fell. "I must 
take a run inta th' Post an' see th' Q.C. 'bout this » 
he resumed. "Tis an exthornary case. There's just 'a 
possibility we may be all wrong - jumphin' at con- 
clusions tu much. Th' ould man! . . . I think I can 
see th face av urn. He'll shling his pen across th' 
Ordly-room. 'Damn th' man! Damn th' man!' he'll 
cry. 'Go you now an' apprehend urn on suspicion thin! 
Fwhy shud I kape a dog an' du me own barkin'?' 
An' thin he'll think betther av ut an' chunt 'Poppycock 
all poppycock! . . . ;.s you were, Sarjint'-an' thin 
he'll call in Kilbride. Eh! fwhat yez laughin' at, yeh 
fules?" he queried irritably. 

In spite of the gravity of the situation, the expres- 
sion on their superior's cadaverous face just then — 
its droll mixture of apprehension and perplexity was 
more than Yorke and Redmond could stand. Awhile 
they rocked up against each other -a trifle hysteri- 
cally; it was the reaction to nerves worked up to a 
pitch of intense excitement. 
"Yez gigglin' idjutsl" growled Slavin. "Come on, 



IHE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 219 

let's get home! No use us shtandin here longer — 
gassin' like a bunch av ould washer-wimmin full av 
gin an' throuble." 

In silence they trudged on to the detachment. 
'"Ome, sweet 'ome! be it never so 'umble!" quoth 
Yorke, as they reached their destination, "Hullo! who's 
this coming along?" Shading his eyes with his hand 
he gazed down the trail. "Looks like Doctor Cox and 
Lanky." 

The trio stared at the approaching buckboard which 
contained two occupants. "Sure is," said Redmond, 
"out to some case west of here, I suppose." 

They hailed the physician cheerily, as presently he 
drew up to th- r;,,tachment. "Fwh-re away, Docthor?" 
queried Sla- Will ye not shtop an' take dinner 

wid us, yu' „a- Lanky? 'Tis rarely we see yez in 
these parts now." 

"Eh, sorry!" remarked that gentleman, climbing out 
of the rig and stretching his cramped limbs, "got to 
get on to Horton's, though. One of their children's 
sick. Thanks, all the same, Sergeant." Glancing 
round at his teamster he continued in lowered tones, 
"There's a littie matter I'd like to speak to you fellows' 
about." 



220 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Sure!" agreed Slavin, quickly. "Come inside thin 
Docthor." 

The party entered the detachment and, seating them- 
selves, gazed enquiringly at their visitor. For a space 
he surveyed them reflectively, a perturbed e.-5)ression 
upon his usually genial countenance. His first words 
startled them. 

"It's about your J.P., Mr. Gully," he began. "This 
mcdent, mind, is closed absolutely - as far as te and 
I are concerned; but, under the circumstances, which 
to say the least struck me as being mighty peculiar, 
I -well! . . . I don't think it's any breach of medical 
etiquette on my part telling you about it. 

"For some time past now I've been treating Gully 
for insomnia. Man first came to me seemingly on the 
verge of a nervous breakdown through it. 

"I prescribed him some pretty strong opiates — 
strong as I dare -and for a time he seemed to get 
relief. But a couple of days ago he came around and 
-my God! . . . Say! if I hadn't known him for a 
man who drinks very litUe I'd have sworn he was in 
the D.T.'s." 

The doctor's rotund figure stiffened slightly in his 
seat, and his genial face hardened to a degree that 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 221 

was in iteelf a revelation to his audience. Without 
any semblance of bravado he continued quietly «I 
hope I possess as much physical pluck as most men - 
I guess you fellows aren't aware of it, but many years 
back I too wore the Queen's uniform - Surgeon i. 
the Navy. I served in that Alexandria affair, under 
Charlie Beresford. 

"Well, as I was saying, . . . Gully came into my 
surgery that day, raving like a madman. He's a big 
pcwerful devi- as you know. I'll confess I was a b'' 
dubious about him -watched him pretty close for a 
few mmutes, for he acted as if he might start running 
amok I can't sleep!' he kept yelling at me, I can't 
sleep, I tell you! . . . That dope you're giving me's 
no good. . . . Christ Almighty! give me a shot of 
cocame, Cox, or morphine, and get me a supply of the 
stuff and a needle, will you? I'll payyou any amount!' 
Naturally, I refused. I'm not the man to go laying 
myself open to anything like that. Well! Good God! 
The next minute the man came for me like a lunatic 
- clutchmg out at uie with those great hands of his 
and With the most murderous expression on his face you 
can miagine. I backed away to the medicine cabinet 
and caught hold of a pestie and told him I'd brain him 



222 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

with -X if he touched me. I threatened I'd lay an in- 
formation against him for assault, and that seemed ro 
quiet him down. He began to expostulate then, and 
eventually broke down and apologised to me — in the 
most abject fashion. Begged me to overlook his loss 
of control, and all that. Of course I let up on him then. 
A local scandal between two men in our position 

wouldn't do at all. I gave him a d d good calling 

down, though, and finally advised him to go away some- 
wLcre for a complete rest and change. But he wouldn't 
agree to that — seemed worried over his ranch. Said 
he'd worked up a pretty good outfit and couldn't think 
of leaving his stock in somebody else's hands at this 
time of the year — couldn't afford it in fact. Anyway 
— that's his look-out. But, as a matter of fact, if that 
man doesn't take my advice, why . . . he's going to 
collapse. I know the symptoms only too well. That's 
the curse of men living alone on these homesteads — 
brooding, and worrying their heads off. It seems to get 
them all eventually in — " 

Breaking off abruptly he glanced at his watch. 
"Getting late!" he ejaculated, jumping up, "I must 
be getting on to that case." 

"Docthorl" said Slavin, reflectively, « 'tis a shtrange 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 223 

story yeVe been tellin' us. Ye'll be comin' back this 
way, I suppose — lather in th' day?" 
The physician nodded. 

"I'd like fur ye tu dhrop in agin, thin," continued 
the sergeant slowly, "if ye have toime? There's a 
Utle matther I wud like tu dishcuss wid yu'-'tis 
'bout that same man." 

Doctor Cox glanced sharply at the speaker's earnest 
sombre ace. A certain sinister earnestness underla; 
the simple words, and it startled him. 

"Very good, Sergeant!" he agreed, "I'll call in on 
my^way back. Well! good-by, all of you, for the time 

They followed him outside and watched the rij: 
depart on its journey westward. It was Redmond 
who broke the long silence. 

"Well, sacred Billy! What do you know about 
that?" he ejaculated tensely. 

And the trio turned and looked upon each other 
strangely, their faces registering mutual wonderment 
and conviction. 

"Sleep?" murmured Yorke, "No, by gum* „o 

more could Macbeth, with King Duncan and Banquo 
on his chest o' nights! . . . Well, that settles if" 



2 24 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

But Slavin made a gesture of dissent. "As you were, 
bhoys!" was his sober mandate. "Sleeplishness's no 
actual proof . . . but it's a pointer. Th' iron's getthin' 

warrm — eyah! d d warrml ... but we cannot 

shtrike yet." 



CHAPTER XII 

But a -nci /.. «A» strain; lor my soul it u sad 
To thmk that a heart in humanity clad 
Should make, like the brute,, such a desolate end 
And depart from the light without leaving a friend 

Bear soft his bones over the stones I 

Though a Pauper, he's one whom his Maker yet owns! 

"THE PAUPERS DBIVE" 

THEY ate dinner more or less in silence. Slavin 
had relapsed into one of his fits of morose 
taciturnity. At the conclusion of the meal, 
Yorke and Redmond drew a bench outside, and for 
awhile sat in the sun, smoking. 

"He's got 'Charley-on-his-back' properly to-day » re- 
marked the sophisticated Yorke, with a sidelong jerk of 
his head, "old bes^gar's best left alone, begad! when he 
get's those fits on him." H-^ sniffed the fresh air and 
gazed longingly out over the sunlit, peaceful landscape 
flooded with a warm, sleepy, golden haze of summer' 
"Lordl but it's a peach of a day" he continued, "say 
gossip mine, did you think to get that fishing-tackle 
at Martin's this morning?" 
235 



!i! "f 



•1; m 



226 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

George nodded affirmatively. Yorke rose and 
stepped indoors. "Say, Burke," he said persuasively, 
"there's not much doing this afternoon — how's 
chances for me and Reddy going down to the Bend 
for a bit? The water looks pretty good just now. You'll 
want to have a lone chin with the Doctor, anyway, 
no use us sticking around." 

The sergeant, engrossed in a crime-report, acceded 
gruffly to the request. "Run thim harses in first, tho'! " 
he flung after his subordinate, "an' du not yu' men get 
tu far away down-shtream, in case I might want yez." 

"Th-it's 'Jake,' " was Redmond's comment, a moment 
latei, ' ;!( use trying fly-fishing to-day, though, Yorkey 
— too bright. We'd better fish deep. Here, you get 
the rods all fixed up, and catch some grasshoppers, and 
I'll chase out in the pasture and run the horses in." 

Some half an hour later found them trudging down 
the long slope below the detachment that led to the 
nearest point of the Bow River, Here the river 
described a sharp bend southward for some 
distance, ere resuming its easterly course. Arriv- 
ing thither, they fished for awhile in blissful con- 
tent; their minds for the time-being devoid of 
aught save the sport of Old Izaak. Picking 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 227 

likely spots for deep casts, they meandered slowly 

down-stream, keeping about twenty yards apart 

At intervals, their piscatorial efforts were rewarded 

with success. Four fine "two-pounders" of the Cut- 

Throat" species had fallen to Yorke's rod - three to 

Redmond's. Then, for a time the fish ceased to bite. 

Here!" said Yorke suddenly. "I'm getting fed up 

vvuh this! I can't get a touch. There's a big hole 

farther down, just up above Gully's place. Let's try 

It! He and I pulled some good 'uns out of there last 

year." ' 

Eventually they reached their objective. At this 
point the force of the current had gradually, with the 
years, scooped out a large, semicircular portion of the 
shelving bank. Also, a spit of gravel-bar, jutting far 
out into the water, had stranded a small boom of logs 
and drift-wood; the whole constituting a veritable 
breakwater that only a charge of dynamite could have 
shifted. In the shelter of this and the hollowed-out 
bank, a huge, slow eddy of water had formed, 
apparently of great depth. 

As Yorke had advertised it -it did look like a 
hkely kind of a hole for big trout. "You wouldn't 
thmk it," said he now, "but there's twenty feet of water 



m 

^ F 



i 



238 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
in that pot hole." He put down his rod and slowly 
began to fill his pipe. "You can have first shot at it, 
Red" he remarked, "I'll be the unselfish big brother. 
You ought to land a good 'un out of there. Aha I 
what'd I tell you?" 

Redmond's gut "leader" had barely sunk below the 
surface when he felt the thrilling, jarring strike of an 
unmistakably heavy fish. The tried, splendid "green- 
heart" rod he was using described a pulsating arc under 
the strain. He turned to Yorke gleefully. "By gum! 
old thing, I've sure got one this time," he said, "bet 
you he's ten pound if he's an ounce. Hope the line'll 
hold!" 

Simultaneously they uttered an excited exclamation, 
as a huge, silvery body darted to the surface, threshed 
the water for the fraction of a second, and then dived. 

"Look out!" cried Yorke. "Give him line, Red, 
give him line! Play him careful now, or you'll lose 
him!" 

The reel screeched, as Redmond let the fish run. 
Then — without warning — the line slacked and the 
rod straightened. George, gi'ing vent to a dismayed 
oath, reeled in until the line tautened again, and the 
point of the rod dipped. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 229 

"What's up?" queried Yorke, "he's still on, isn't 
he?" 

"Yes," growled Redmond miserably, "feels as if I'm 
snagged though. He's there right enough - I can feel 
himjumpmg. Damnation! That's the worst of string- 
mg three hooks on your leader. One of 'em's snagged 
on something below, 1 guess. Here! hold the rod a 
minute, Yorkey!" 

The latter complied. George unbuttoned and threw 
off his stable-jacket and began taking off his boots 
Yorke contemplated his comrade's actions in speechless 
amazement. "Why, what the devil? - " he began - 
"I'm not going to lose that fish," mumbled Redmond 
sulkily, as he threw off his clothes, "I'll get him by 
gum! if I have to dive to the depths of Hell." 

"Say, now! don't be a fool!" cried Yorke, "that 
■.vater's like ice, man! You'll get cramped, and then 
tflf two of us'll drown. We-11, of all the idiots! — » 

George, by this time stripped to the buff, crept gin- 
gerly to the edge of the shelving bank. In his right 
hand he grasped - opened — a small pen-knife. "Aw 
quit it!" he retorted rudely, "I'll only be under a 
minute -hold the line taut - straight up and down, 
Yorkey, so's I can see where to dive." 



n.' 



230 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

He drew a deep breath, and then, with the poise of a 
practised swimmer, dived — cutting the water with 
barely a splash. For the space of a half-minute Yorke 
stared apprehensively at the swirling eddy, beneath 
which the other had vanished. The line still remained 
taut. Then he gave a gasp of relief, as Redmond's 
head re-appeared, and that young gentleman swam to 
the side. Extending a hand, the senior constable 
lugged his comrade to terra iirma. 

"That's good!" he ejaculated fervently. "D n 

the fish, anyway! I guess you couldn't make — " 
He broke off abruptly, and remained staring at the 
dripping George with startled eyes. The latter's face 
registered unutterable horror, and he shook as with the 
ague. Speech seemed beyond him. He could only 
mouth and point back to the gloomy depths whence 
he had just emerged. 

"Here!" cried Yorke, with an oath, "whatever is 
the matter, Reddy? Man! you look as if you'd seen 
a ghost!" 

Then his own face blanched, as the shivering George 
bubbled incoherently, "B-b-body! b-b-body! My 
God, Yorkey! th-there's a s-s-stiff d-down th-there! 
Ugh ! I d-d-dived right onto it 1 " 



If 



k I 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 231 
For a brief space they remained staring at each 
other; then, a strange light of understanding brolie 
over Yorke's face, and he made a snatch at Redmond's 
clothes. Come!" he jerked out briskly. "Get 'em 
on quick, Red, else you'll catch your death of cold — 
never mind about drying yourself -you can change 
when you get back." 

In shivering silence his comrade commenced to 
struggle into his underclothes and "fatigue-slacks." 
Yorke snapped the line and reeled in the slack. "Stiff! " 
he kept ejaculating "stiff! Yes, by gad! and I can 
make a pretty good guess who that stiff is! 
Burke'll have all the evidence he wants — now. You 
beat it, Reddy, as soon as you're fit and get him. A 
run 11 warm you up. The grappling-irons are back of 
the stable. And say! tell him to bring a good long 
rope. Lord, I hope Doctor Cox hasn't left yet. I'll 
stay here, Reddy. Hurry up! " 



An hour or so later, a morbidly expectant gioup 
gathered on the river-bank. Redmond, luckily, had 
reached the detachment just prior to the coroner's 
departure, and that gentleman now comprised one of a 
party. Slavin had hitched his team to a cotton-wood 



232 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

clump nearby, and was now busily rigging the double 
set of three-pronged grappling-irons. When all was 
ready, he motioned to his companions to stand back, 
and then, with a preliminary whirl or two, flung the 
irons into the pool, some distance ahead of the spot 
Indicated by Redmond. 

Slowly and ponderously he began the dragging re- 
cover, with the muscular skill of a man long inured to 
the gruesome business. His first effort was unsuc- 
cessful — weeds and refuse were all he salvaged. He 
tried again, with the same result. Cast after cast 
proved futile. After the last failure he turned and 
glowered morosely upon Redmond. 

" 'Tis either dhrunk or dhramin' ye must be, bhoyi 
There's nothin' there. I've a good mind," he added 

slowly "a d d good mind tu shove ye undher 

arrest for makin' a friv'lus report tu yeh superior!" 

Yorke now came to his comrade's rescue. "By gum, 
Burke," he flashed out "if you'd seen his mug when he 
came up out of that hole you wouldn't have thought 
there was anything frivolous about it, I can tell you!" 

Poor George voiced a vehement protest, in self de- 
fense. "Good God, Sergeant!" he expostulated, "d'you 
think I'd come to you with a yam like that? I tell 



1 



Hil t 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 233 

you it is there. Have another try. Sling farther over 

to the right here!" 
Grumblingly, the latter complied, and began the 

slow recover. Suddenly, the rope checked. Slavin 

strained a moment, then he turned around to the ex- 
pectant group. "Got ut!» he announced grimly "I 
can tell by th' feel av ut. Tail on tu th' rope there 
allavyez! Nowl Yeo! Heave ho!" 

Like a tug of war team they all bowed their backs 
and strained with all their might; but their efforts 
proved futile. "Vast heavin!" said Slavin, breathing 
heavily. " 'Tis shtuck somehow - 1 will have tu get 
th' team an' double-trees. Get a log off'n that break- 
water, bhoys, so's th' rope will not cut inta th' edee av 
th' bank." 

He crossed over to the horses. "Now!" said he 
some minutes later, as he backed up the team and made' 
all fast to the double-trees. "Yu', Reddy, an' Lanky, 
guide th' rope over th' log. Yu', Yorkey, get th' feel 
av ut, an' give me th' wurrd. I du not want to 
break ut." 

Yorke leant over the edge of the bank, loosely 
feeling the rope. "All right!" he announced. 
Slavin, edging his team cautiously forward, and 



Mi 



\m 



234 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

taking the strain to avoid a violent jerk, clucked to 
them. With a scramble, and a steady heave of their 
powerful hind-quarters, they started. 

With bated breath the watchers gazed at the rope — 
creeping foot by foot out of the discoloured water. 
"Keep a-going!" Yorke shouted to Slavin. "It's com- 
ing up, all right!" 

It came. Arising slowly and sullenly out of the 
depths they beheld a horrible, dripping, shapeless 
something that eventually resolved itself into a human 
body — clothed in torn rags and matted with river- 
refuse. 

Then, to the salvagers, came the most astounding 
and sinister revelation of all. Startled oaths burst 
from them as they beheld now what had retarded their 
first pull. Bound tightly to the body with rusted wire 
was a huge, hand-squared block of stone. The ser- 
geant's last and successful cast had resulted in two 
prongs of the grappling-irons catching in the envelop- 
ing wire. 

Slowly and cautiously the whole hideous bulk was 
finally drawn up the shelving bank and over the log 
and onto dry ground. Yorke shouted, and Slavin, 
checking the horses, detached the rope from the double- 



i 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 235 
trees. Handing the lines over to Lanky Jones he 
joined the others, who were critically examining their 
gruesome catch. To their surprise, although the 
features were unrecognisable, the corpse was not so 
decomposed as they had first imagined, the ice-cold 
water havmg preserved it to a certain extent." Still 
firmly hooked to the rags of clothing -a ludicrously 
gnm joke^was the huge jumping, gasping trout 
waich Redmond had struck and lost. 

Suddenly Yorke uttered a low exclamation. "Burke- 
Burke!" he said tensely, "there you are! . . . Look at 
the right hand!" 

The eyes of all were centered on the grimy, stiffened, 
clawhke fist. They saw that two of the fingers were 
missing.^ An exultant oath burst from Slavin. "By 
G !" he said, with grim conviction, "it's him all 
right! -that pore hobo shtiff-Dick Drinkwater 
Eyah! fwhat's in a name? Fwhat's in a name?" He 
pomted to the grinning jaws. "Luk at th' gold teeth 
avum,tu!" he added. 

The coroner was examining the almost fleshless skull 
He gave a cry of anger and dismay. "Good God'" 
he gasped. "Look here, all of you! . . . This man's 
been shot through the head, too!" He indicated the 



236 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

small, circular orifice in the occiput, and its egress 
below the left eye. 

"Only an exceedingly powerful, high-pressure 
weapon could have done that," he continued signifi- 
cantly, "both holes are alike — bullet hasn't 'mush- 
roomed' at all." 

"Eyah!" Slavin agreed wearily. "We know fwhat 
kind av a gun did ut. And luk herel" he added sav- 
agely, pointing to the bare feet, "here's another of 
Mr. Man's little jokes — no boots. If they'd have 
been lift on they'd have shtuck tighter'n glue — in 
that water. Reddy was 'bout right, Yorkey! Gully, 

d n him! did frame us that day. Must have used 

thim himsilf tu make thim thracks wid — early in th' 
momin' — behfure he met up wid us on th' thrall. 
Oh, blarney my sowll Yes! Had us chasin' for a 
whole silly week, all for — " 

He broke off abruptly, choking with rage. For 
awhile, in silence, the party gazed at the pitiful, hideous 
monstrosity that had once been a man. Then the 
ever-practical Redmond proceeded, with the aid of 
a large pebble, to burst, strand by strand, the wire 
which bound the stone to the body. 

"That stone, too!" said the doctor darkly. "Ser- 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 237 
geant, in view of what you've been telling me, there 
seems something very, very terrible about all this. 
I suppose there's absolutely no doubt in your mind now 
who — ?" ' 

The Irishman jerked out a great oath. "Doubt!" 
echoed he grimly, "doubt! So little doubt, Docthor " 
added he hoarsely, "that we go get 'urn this very night'" 
"Alas, poor Yorick!" said Yorke sadly. "Say, 
Burke!" he continued in an awe-struck voice "this is 
like a leaf out of O'Brien's book, with a vengeance. 
You remember him, that cold-blooded devil who 
Pennycuik nailed up in the Yukon -used to shoot 
'em and shove their bodies under the ice?" 

Slavin nodded gloomily. "At Tagish, ye mane? 
Yeah! I 'member ut. Penny sure did some good 
wurrk on that case." 

Redmond had by this time completed his gruesome 
task. "There's lots of these blocks lying around 
Gully's," he remarked, "I've seen 'em. Place's got 
a stone foundation. Look at the notches he's chipped 
m this one — to keep the wire from slipping!" 

"Eyah!" said Slavin, with grimly-unconscious 
humour, "Exhibit B. We must hang on to ut, heavy 
as it us - an' th' wire, tul Well, people, we'd betther 



238 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
shove this pore shtiff on the buckboard, an' beat ut." 
He turned to the doctor's laconic factotum. "Come on, 
Lanky 1" he said briskly. "Let's go hitch up." 

Presently, when all was ready, Slavin took the lines 
and the coroner climbed up beside him. The rest of 
the par'y followed on foot. A sombre, strange little 
procession it looked, as it moved slowly westward into 
the dusky blaze of a blood-red sunset. In the hearts 
of the policemen grim resolve was not unmixed with 
certain well-founded forebodings, as they fully realized 
what a sinister, dangerous mission lay ahead of them 
that night. 



I 



CHAPTER XIII 

•Twa, then -like tiger close beut 
At every pass with toil and net 
•Counter-d. where'er he turns hu glare. 
By clashmg arms and torches' flare 
Who meditates, with furious bound 
To burst o„ hunter, horse, and hound, - 
Twos then that Bertram's soul arose 
Prompting to rush upon his joes. 

SCOTT 

THE Old detachment clock struck nine wheezy 
notes. Yorke and Redmond, seated at a table 
busily engaged in cleaning their service revolvers 
glanced up at each other sombrely 

should be up soon now. Lanky," he continued, 
addressmg that individual who was sitting nearby 
what are you and the Doctor going to do? Going 
back to Cow Run tonight, or what?" 

"Don't think it," replied the teamster laconically 
He glanced towards the open door and assumed a 
I'stemng attitude. «Th' Sarjint an' him's out there 
now-chemn' th' rag >bout it-hark to 'eml" 

239 



240 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Ceasing their cleaning operations for a space, the 
two constables listened intently to the raised voices 
without. "Nol no! no!" came Slavin's soft brogue, 
in tones of vehement protest to something the coroner 
had said, "I tell yu' 'tis not right, Docthor, ihat yu' 
shud run such risk! Wid us 'tis diff'runt — takin' th' 
chances av life an' death — just ord'nary course av 
juty. . . ." 

"Oh, tut! tut! nonsense, Sergeant," was the physi- 
cian's brisk response. "You forget. I've taken those 
same chances before, too, and, by Jove! I can take 
'em again! All things considered," he added signifi- 
cantly, "seems to me — er — perhaps just as well I 
should be on hand." 

Yorke and Redmond exchanged rueful ■ r'ns. "The 
old sport!" quoth the latter admiringl;, "Damme, 
but I must say the Doc's game!" 

"It's the old 'ex-service spirit'," said Yorke quietly, 
"rum thingi Always seems to crop out, somehow, when 
there's real trouble on hand." 

Nonchalantly puffing a huge cigar, the object of 
their re; trks presently strolled back into the room, 
followed by the sergeant. "Behould th' 'last coort 
av appea?/ Docthor," began Slavin majestically. With 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 241 

a whimsical grin he indicated his subordinates. 
Bhoys," he explained, "contrairy tu my wishes, th' 
Docthor insisu on comin' wid us this night. Now fwhat 
yez know 'bout that?" 

"Tried to shake me!" supplemented that genUeman 
tersely, waving his cigar at the last speaker. "What's 
this court's ruling?" 

A stern smile flitted over Yorke's high-bred features 
"Appeal sustained," he announced decisively "eh 
Reddy?" '' ' 

For answer, his comrade arose and silently wrung 
the doctor's hand; then, without show of emotion, he 
resumed his seat and likewise his cleaning operations. 
Yorke, as silently, duplicated his comrade's actions 
The ex-Naval surgeon said nothing; but his eyes 
glistened strangely as he dropped into an easy chair 
and proceeded to envelope himself in a cloud of 
smoke. 

Suddenly the nasal voice of the teamster, Lanky 
Jones, made itself heard. "How 'bout me?" he 
drawled, "ain't I in on this, too? I kin look after th' 
hawsses, anyways, fur yeh!" 

"Arrah thin! hark tu um?" said Slavin, in mock 
despair. "Docthor, 'tis a bad example yeVe settin'. 



If. 



242 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
All right, thin, Lanky, ye shall come, an' ye wish ut. 
An' as man tu man — I thank yet We will all go a 
'moonlightin' tugither. Eyahl" he resumed reminis- 
cently, "many's th' tolme I -lind me ould father — 
God rist him! — tellin' th' tales av thim days, whin 
times was harrd in Oireland, an' rints wint up an' th' 
pore was dhriven well-nigh desprit. How him an' his 
blood-cousin, Tim Moriarty, lay wan night for an' 
ould rapparee av a landlord, who'd evicted pore Tim 
out av house an' home. Tim had an' ould blundher- 
buss, all loaded up wid bits av nales an' screws an' 
such-like, wid a terribul big charrge av powther be- 
hint ut. Four solid hours did they wait for um — 
fominst a hedge on th' road he had tu come home 
by, from Ballymeen Fair. 

"By an' by they hears um a-comin . . . a-hollerin' 
an' laughin' tu umsilf, an' roarin' an' singin' 'Th' 
Jug av Potheen.' Full av ut, tu, by token av th' voice 
av um. Tim makes all ready wid th' blundherbuss. 
All av a suddint tho', th' tchune shtops, an' tho' they 
waits for um for quite a toime, he niver shows up. 
By an* by they gets fed up wid lyin' belly-down in th' 
soakin' rain. 'H-mm! mighty quare!' sez me father, 
'I wonder fwhat's happened tu th' pore ould ginthle- 



243 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

man?" 'Let us go luk for um?' sez Tim, wid , in 
his oi, ' 'tis may be he's on'y shtoppin' tu take auotiier 
dhrink out av cL' Jug.' 

"So, up th' road they goes a piece, till they comes 
tu a bog at th' side av ut. An' there they finds um — 
head-first shtuck in th' bog — just th' tu feet av um 
shtlckin' out an' which boots Tim sez he can swear tu. 
'Begorrahl' sez me father, 'that accounts for th' tchune 
shtoppin' so suddintl Let us luk for th' Jug?' Well, 
they hunts around for th' Jug awhile, but all tuey finds 
is his ould caubeen. So they shtuck that on wan of his 
feet, an' Tim, he pins th' warrant av evictmint tu ut, 
currsin' somethin' fierce th' whiles bekase he was done' 
out av getthin' a shot at the 'ould rapparee wid th' 
blundherbuss." 

Slavin shook his head slowly at the conclusion of 
the story. "Eyah!" he said wistfully, "raany's th' 
toime have I heard me father tell that same tale. 
They must have been shtirrin' times, thim!" In 
characteristic fashion his mood suddenly changed. 
His face hardened, as with upraised hand he silenced 
the burst of laughter he had provoked from his 
hearers. "Ginthlemen!" he resumed quietly, "we're 
none av us cowards here, but — no need tu remind 



iii; 



244 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

yu' — fwhat sort av a man we are goin' up against 
this night." 

Unconsciously he drew himself up, with an air of 
simple, rugged dignity that well became his grim visage 
and powerful frame. In that hour of impending danger 
the brave, true, kindly heart of the man stood revealed 

— a personality which endeared him to Yorke and Red- 
mond beyond any ties of friendship they had known. 

Slowly he repeated, "we are none av us cowards here, 
but — remimber Larry Blake, an' that pore hobo 
shtlff back in th' shed there. An' remimber thim dogs 
this mornin'. We du not want tu undherrate um. 
We du not want tu cop ut like did Wilde, whin he 
wint tu arrest Charcoal; or Colebrook, whin he tackled 
Almighty Voice. Maybe he'll just come a-yawnin' tu 
th' dhure, wid th' dhrawlin' English spache av um, 
sayin' 'Well, bhoys, an' fwhat's doin'?' An' yet again 

— may be he's all nerves afther th' bad break he made 
in front av us this mornin' — expectin' us — eyah! — 
waithin', watchin' belike, wid his gun in his fisht. 
Luk at th' way he acted afther his gun play — leery 
as hell. . . ." 

"Yes!" said Yorke thoughtfully, "egad! there was 
something darned queer in the way he acted, all right. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 24s 
Guess we'd better take carbines along, eh, Burke? 
m case we get let in for a man hunt. For all we know' 
he may have beat it already. Another thing -he' 
may start in bucking us about not having a warrant 
— just to gain time?" 

Slavin met the other's suggestion with a grim nod of 
acqmescence. "Shure I we'll take thim," he said "but" 
-his jaw set ruthlessly- "if I wanst get my grub- 
hooks on urn . . . why! 'tis all up! -carbines, or 
no cart: les- warrant or no warrant. Section thirty 
ay th' Code cover, th> warrant bizness- i„ a case 
like this, anyways. Come on, thin, bhoys, saddle up! 
An Lanky! -yu give me a hand wid th' team' we 
must begetthin'!" 

Presently all was in readiness, and the small, well- 
armed party left the detachment under the light of a 
brilliant three-quarter moon. Slavin led in the police 
buckboard, with the doctor seated beside him and 
Lanky Jones crouched behind them. Yorke and Red- 
mond rode in the rear, with their carbines slung at 
the saddle-horn. It was a hazardous mission they 
were bound on, as they all fully realized now, know- 
mg the terribly ruthless character of the man they 
sought to apprehend. 



246 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Descending the grade which led to the bend of the 
river they swung due east at a smart pace, following the 
winding Lower Trail. This last road ran past Gully's 
ranch, which lay some three miles distant. As they 
neared their objective the sergeant slackened his team 
down to a walking pace. 

Suddenly Redmond tongue-clucked to himself in 
absent fashion. The sound of it roused Yorke out of 
the sombre reverie into which he had fallen. 

"What's up. Red?" queried he waggishly, in a low 
voice, "dreaming you're taking that dive again, or 
what?" 

"No!" muttered George abstractly in the same key. 
"I was thinking what a rum, unfathomable old beggar 
Slavin is. Fancy him springing that comical old yarn 
at such a time as this?" 

"Ah!" murmured his comrade reflectively. "When 
you come to know Burke as well as I do you'll find 
he's generally got some motive for these little things — 
blarney and all. You laughed, didn't you? Guess 
we all of us gave the giddy 'hal ha! ' Felt quite chipper 
after it, too, the bunch of us . . . well then?" 

"Sh-sh!" came the sergeant's back-flung, guarded 
growl, "quit your gab there ! We're gettin' nigh, bhoys 



I 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 247 

-here's th' brush forninst his place . . . must go 
mighty quiet an' careful now." 

Looming up dark and forbidding ahead of them they 
beheld the all-familiar sight of the huge, shadowy 
thicket of pine and Balm o' Gilead clumps that fringed 
th.. west end of Gully's ranch. Entering its gloomy 
depths, they felt their way slowly and cautiously along 
the stump-dotted trail. At intervals, from somewhere 
overhead, came the weird, depressing hoot of a long- 
eared owl, and, seemingly close at hand, the shrill 
mocking "ki-yip.yapping» of coyotes echoed sharply 
m the stillness of the night. Stray patches of moonlight 
began to filter upon the party once more as they 
gradually neared the end of the rough-hewn avenue- 
the thick growth of pine giving place to scattered 
cotton-wood clumps. 

Arriving at the verge of the timber the party halted. 
There, some two hundred yards distant, upon a patch 
of open ground partially encircled by dense, willow- 
scrub, lay a ghostly-shadowed cluster of ranch build- 
ings. The living habitation itself stood upon a slightly 
raised knoll, hard upon the river-bank. To the", 
nostrils the night air brought the strong, not unpleasant 
scent of catUe, drifting up from the numerous recum- 



I< 



l! 

■li. 



248 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

bent bovine forms which dotted the ground all around 
the ranch. 

Awhile the party gazed speculatively at the habita- 
tion of him — the undoubted perpetrator of the deadly 
deeds — for whom they had sought so long. The 
peaceful aspect of their moonlit surroundings sud- 
denly smote the minds n{ all with a strange sense 
of unreality, as full realization of the sinister import 
of their errand came home to them. In uncanny tel- 
epathy with their disturbed feelings sounded the owl's 
derisive hooting, and the persistent mocking raillery 
of the coyotes. 

It was Slavin who broke the long, tense silence. 
"Damn that 'Dismal Jimmy' owl!" he ejaculated 
testily, in a low tone — "an' thim ki-oots! . . . beg- 
gars all seem to be givin' us th' ha! ha! as if they knew. 
P'raps he has beat ut on us afther all? . . . 'Tis harrd 
tu say — we cannot shpot a glim from this side- 
winders all face east. Now! luk a-here, all av yez!" 
He turned to his companions with a grim, determined 
face, his deep-set eyes glittering ominously in the light 
of the moon. "Let's get things cut-an'-dhried behfure 
we shtart in," he whispered. "Whin he knows th' 
jig's up — that's if he is in — he may act like a man av 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 249 

sinse, an' agree tu come peaceable — but — " and 
Slavin shook his head slowly — "if he refuses 
fwhy? . . . 't'wud br straight suicide tu attimpi tu 
rush ,am. There's on'y wan dhure. Hidin' in th' 
dark there, wid that Luger gun av his coverin' ut 
we d shtand no show at all. He'd put th' whole bunch 
av us out av business -in as many shots, behfure a 
man av us got a chance tu put fut inside. Now, 
lets see!" he murmured reflectively. "Fwhat is th' 
lay av th' shack agin? There's — " 

"The door and two of the windows face ean" in- 
terpolated Yorke, softly - "living-room and kitchen - 
one wmdow to the south - that's his bed-room " 

"Eyahl that's ut," whispered the sergeant, "now thin 
- Lanky -du yu' shtay right here wid th' harses. 
Kape yu're head - even if ye du hear shootin' Du 
not shtir from here onless ye get o-.dhers from wan av 
us. Tummg to the others he continued in a sibilant 
hiss, "Yu, Reddy, shUp along th' edge av th' brush 
here an' over th' river-bank onto th' shingle. Kape 
well down an' thread careful ontil ye come fominst th' 
back winder. Thin pop yu're head up circumshpict 
an cover ut wid yu'rt carbine. Use good judgmint 
tho ; none av us want tu shtart in shootin' onless we're 



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250 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

forced tu ut. Ondher th' circumstances 'tis best we 
thry an' catch um alive." 

For a moment Slavin stared after Redmond's crouch- 
ing form, as his subordinate disappeared in the gloom. 
"Thrust no harm comes tu th' lad," he muttered ir- 
resolutely, "quick as a flash is th' bhoy wid his head, 
eyah! but he's inclined tu be over rash at toimes." 

"Oh, he's all right," hissed Yorke reassuringly, 
"don't you get worrying over him making any bad 
breaks, Burke. He's as fly as they make 'em." 

Presently the sergeant faced round with a dreary 
sigh. "Come on thin, Docthor," he murmured heavily, 
"wid me an' Yorke." 

Making a wide detour they circled the ranch and 
wormed their way cautiously through the dense scrub 
on its eastern side. Suddenly, with a warning gesture 
to his companions, the sergeant halted. They had 
reached the verge of the scrub and the front of the 
ranch-house faced them — barely twenty jrards distant. 
They could discern a faint light glimmering around the 
lower edge of one of the windows. 

"He is in!" whispered Slavin exultantly. "Blinds 
down though. 'Tis a quare custom av his. Come on 
thin, Yorkey, me bould second-in-command I In a 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 251 
mighty few short minuts we shall know" — his jaw 
dropped -"fwhat we shall knowl . . . Arrah thin 
Docthorl»-he silenced a violent protest from that 
adventurous gentleman, who made as though to accom- 
pany them -"if ye wud help us in best fashion - 
shtay right here, an' mark fwhat comes off. If we shud 
happen tu get ut in th' neck . . . just yu' beat ut 
back tu Lanky 1 Ye know fwhat tu du — thin. I'll 
lave me carbine here awhile." 

He stepped clear of the brush and, revolver in hand 
advanced softly upon the low, one-story, log-built 
dwelling. Yorke followed a few steps in his rear, with 
his carbme held in readiness at the "port-arms." 

Reaching the door, the sergeant rapped upon it 
sharply. The- was no response from within, but — 
the light vanished on the instant. Yorke stepped 
wanly to the side and covered the door with his weapon 
A few tense moments passed, and then Slavin rapped 
agam. Heavy footfalls now sounded, approaching the 
door from the inside, halted, and then, through the 
panels came Gully's hollow, booming bass: "Who's 
there?" 

"Shlavin of th' Mounted Police, Gully. Opin up! we 
wud shpake wid ye." 



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2S2 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"What do you want? What's your business at this 
hour of the night?" 

"Fwhat do we want?" — the sergeant uttered a 
mirthless chuckle — "fwhy 'tis yu' we want, Gully — 
for murdherl Come off th' perch, man, th' jig's upl 
There's a bunch av us here — we've got yu're shack 
covered properly — wid carbines — north, east, south, 
an' west — ye can pull nothin' off. Come now! will 
ye pitch up an' act reasonable? 'Tis no manner av 
use ye shtartin' in tu buck th' Force. Juty's juty — ye 
know that." 

"Have you got a warrant, Sergeant?" 

"Eyahl" came Slavin's sinister growl. "We've bin 
fishin', Gully, up in th' big pool beyant. Well ye must 
know that pool. Fwhat we caught there is our warrant. 
Opin up now, will ye? else we bust yu're dhure in!" 

"Slavin — Sergeant! You and Yorke whom I've 
known all this time — good fellows" — the deep, im- 
ploring tones faltered slightly — "do not push me to it, 
man! You and your men go away and leave me in 
peace this night. Christ knows! I don't want to do it 
but — if you persist in forcing an entran in here 
without a warrant — why! I'll pull on your ctowd till 
there's not a man left" 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 253 
"Gully!" tie sergeant's voice shook with passion It 
the other's threat, "ye bloody murdherin' dogl Ye 
dhirty back-av-th'-head gun-artistl Thryin' for 
tu come th' 'good-feller' over us av th' Mountedl 
Theres ony wan answer tu that, an' ye know ut 
Now, will ye opin up this dhure, or I'll bust her 
down!" 

And, as if to enforce his command, Slavin set 
h« huge shoulder against the door and gave a heave 
which caused the stout wood to crack ominously 

'Look out, Burkel" cried Yorke suddenly. His 
right arm shot out and jerked the maddened Irishman 
violently towards him. His hasty action was only 
just in time. ' 

Bang! bang! Two muffled shots detonated within 
and white splinters flew from a spot in the door covered 
a moment before by the sergeant's broad breast With 
a startled oath Slavin flung up his gun, as if to fire 
back; but Yorke clutched his arm and arrested the 
action. 

♦K '!^r ^"^''" "^ '^^ """^^'y' "°° "«e doing 
that ! You bet ke-s not there now. Lying 'doggo' be- 
WBdthe Io«s. moM Kkely. You'd only blow a hole in 
the door that k* could pick us off through after We're 



In 



2 54 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

proper marks in the moonlight here! Let's back up, 
and keep the front covered." 

Slavin, balked of his prey, nimbled in his throat 
awhile, like some huge bear; then, adopting Yorke's 
suggestion, he slowly backed up with the latter to the 
sheltering brush, where they rejoined the expectant, 
anxious doctor. 

"Hit, either of you?" he enquired tersely. 

Yorke replied in the negative. "Mighty close shave 
for Burke here, though" he added, "lucky I heard 
Gully cocking that blasted Luger of his." He uttered 
a suppressed chuckle, "Burke's always one to go 
cautioning others, and then lose his temper and ex- 
pose himself." 

For some few minutes they canvassed the situation 
in tense whispers, lying prone in the brush with their 
carbines covering their objective. 

"Sh-shI" hissed the doctor suddenly. "Hark!" 

With all their faculties on the stretch, they held 
their breaths and listened intently. In the stillness 
they heard the unmistakable noise as of a window 
being cautiously lifted. The sound came from the 
southern end of the building. 

Then they heard Redmond's voice ring out sharply 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 255 
from the bank: "No use, Gully! IVe got you coveredl 
You can't make it from there 1 You'd better give in, 
man." 

There was an instant's silence, then — crack! came 
the crisp report of the Luger. It was answered by the 
deep, reverberating bang! of a carbine, and the crash 
of splintered glass and woodwork was followed by a 
boyish laugh. 

"Told you Reddy was there with the goods!" re- 
marked Yorke, triumphantly, to his superior, "don't 
suppose he got him though — Gully's too fly — he'd 
duck into shelter the instant he'd fired. I'll bet he's 
doing some tall thinking just now. Beggar's between 
the devil and the deep sea — properly. He'll chuck up 
the sponge just now, you'll see." 

"Eyah!" agreed Slavin, with an oath, "he's up 
against it. But Reddy down there — I du not like th' 
idea av th' bhoy bein' all alone. Yorkey, yu' shlink 
thru' th' brush an' down th' bank an' kape um company 
awhile. Th' Docthor an' me'Il kape th' f ,nt here 
covered." 

A few minutes later, Yorke, after first challenging 
Redmond cautiously, crept up beside his comrade below 
the sheltering river-bank. 



riiii- 



256 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
"Did you get him?" he queried in a tense whisper. 
"No, I don't think so," muttered Redmond disconso- 
lately, "but — he d d near got me — look!" 

He exhibited his Stetson hat. A dean bullet per- 
foration showed in the pincbed-up top. "I could have 
got him — easy," he added, "when he first opened the 
window. Wish I had, now — but you know what 
Burke said — about getting him alive — I only loosed 
off after he'd thrown down on me. I was scared for 
you and Burke, though I I could see you both backing 
up — after he'd shot through the door." 

Bang! A dull, muffled report detonated within the 

building. The ominous echoes gradually died away, 

and the stillnt^s of the night settled over all once more. 

TTie crouching policemen stared at each other 

strangely. "Hear that?" ejaculated Redmond, with a 

startled oath, "By G d! he's shot himself! must 

have — it sounded muffled. ... All over I 111 bet 
his brains — " 

He broke off short and, shoving the barrel of his 
carbine over the edge of the bank, he commenced to 
clamber up. "Wait a second! . . . Good God, Red! 
don't do that!" snarled Yorke wamingly. "He's as 
cunning as a blasted lobo. May be it's only a tr — " 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 157 

The entreaty died in his thr.;,. Crackl A spurt 
of flame shot from the opened wiauow, and Redmond 
with a gasping exclamation of rage and pain, toppled 
backwards onto the shingle, his carbine clattering 
dowt, beside him. Fearful of relaxing his vigilance e;en 
at thjs crisis, the maddened Yorke flung up his weapon 
and sent shot afar shot crashin.? through the open 
casement. All could ho.r the sm. .l.ing, rending sounds 
of havoc his buikis were ci .-ating within. 

"Doctorl" he shouted. "Oh, noctorl Come on 
round quickl" In a hoarse aside he spat out fever- 
ishly,"Red!Red!myoldson! . . . hit bad? Where'd 
you get it?" 

"Shoulder! Oh-h!" gasped poor Redmond, mcr, ,- 
mg and rolling on the shingle in his agony, "Oh, Cl.risi 
it hurts!" 

There came a crashing in the undergrowth on theu- 
right, and presently a crouching form came creeping 
rapidly towards them under cover of the sheltering 
bank. In a terse aside Yorke acviuainted the doctor 
with the details of his comrade's mischance, keeping 
a wary eye meanwhile on the window. The ex-naval 
surgeon wasted no time in unnecessary question or 
comment, but mth the grim composure of an old cam- 



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258 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

paigner swiftly proceeded to render first aid to the 
wounded man. 

"Right shoulder — low down!" he presently vouch- 
safed to the anxious Yorke. "Trust it's missed the 
lung! . . . can't tell yet! ... I must get him away 
the best way I can. No! . . . don't move, Yorke! 
You keep on your mark! I can pack him I think. 
I'll get him to the buckboard somehow. This is going 
to be a long siege, I'm thinking. You'll be getting 
reinforcements later. Slavin told me to send for them." 

Bang! crash! The crisp sounds of splintering wood- 
work on the east side of the shack denoted the fact of 
their quarry apparently attempting a second escape 
from the front entrance. : aided, the doctor cleverly 
executed the professional fire-fighter's trick of raising, 
balancing on the back, and carrying an unconscious 
human body. With an overwhelming feeling of relief, 
not unmixed with admiration, at the other's gameness, 
Yorke watched him stagger away in the gloom, bearing 
poor George upon his bowed shoulders. 

His momentary lack of vigilance proved well-nigh 
his own undoing, also. Crack! spat the Luger again 
from the window. His hat whirled from his head, 
but he kept his presence of mind. It was not the first 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 259 

time by many that Yorke had been under fire. Duck- 
ing down on the instant, he moved swiftly three paces 
to his right, and then, finger on trigger, he suddenly 
jerked upright and sent two more shots crashing 
through the aperture. 

"Mark-erl" he called out mockingly. "Signal a 
miss, mark-er! Ding-dong! You'll get tired of it be- 
fore we do, Gully! You'd better give up the ghost, 
man!" 

His grim sarcasm failing to draw further fire from 
his desperate opponent, the senior constable reloaded 
wearily and settled down to what promised to be a 
long, danger-fraught vigil. 



If 



CHAPTER XIV 

Ht "wau out," poor Cm, at the break o' day — 
Ohl — kis kmdly ways, and his ckeery face! 
But . . . the Lord gave, attd hath taken away, 
Bark I sounds "The Last Post," Reguiescat m Facet 

"the last post" 

SLOWLY the nig^t dragged through for the two 
grim, haKs*^ sesitioels. Thrice during their 
vigil had tbeir desperate quarry exercised his 
marksmanship upon them with his deadly Luger. 
Seemingly only by a miracle did they escape 
each time. The sergeant had his hat perforated 
in similar fashion to his companions. Yorke had a 
shoulder-strap torn from his stable-jacket. Adroitly 
shifting their positions each time he fired, they greeted 
his shots with such withering blasts of carbine fire 
that they finally silenced their enemy's battery. 
Throughout he had remained as mute as a trapped wolf. 
Only an occasional cough indicated that so far, 
apparently, he was unharmed and, like them, still 
grimly on the alert. 

260 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 261 

Relief came to the two besiegers with the first 
streaJis of dawn. Dr. Cox, with aiaiost superhuman 
efforts, had somehow managed to reach Lanlty Jones 
and the backboard with the wounded Redmond. 
Swiftly conveying the latter back to the detachment, 
the ph)rsician had immediately got in touch with the 
night-operator at the station, and also MacDavid. 

And now, guided by that old pioneer, Inspector 
Kilbride arrived upon the scene with an armed party 
from the Post. They had been rushed up by a special 
train, which had been flagged by MacDavid at the 
nearest objective point to Gully's ranch. 

Swiftly and warily they skirmished towards their 
objective. Half of the party, under a sergeant, crept 
along below the shelterim; river bank where they soon 
joined the wearied, but still vigilant, Yorke. The 
rest, under the inspector, making a wide detour of the 
ranch, gained the brush on its eastern side. /\mong 
this last party were Hardy, McSpornm and 
McCullough. In extended order they glided through 
the thick scrub and, reaching its fringe, flung them- 
selves prone with their carbines held in readiness. 

The inspector gradually wormed himself up beside 
Slavin who, in a few tense whispers, acquainted his 



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262 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
superior with all details of the situation. Full well, 
both men realized what a perilous spot it was, for all 
concerned, on the eastern front of the shack. Straining 
their eyes in the gray, ghostly gloom they could just 
discern an open casement. Apparently it was from 
this well-sheltered embrasure that Gully had pre- 
viously attempted to pick off Slavin. With the coming 
of daylight their position would be absolutely untenable 
in the face of further fire from the enemy. On the 
other hand, if they retreated further into the scrub 
they would lose sight of their objective altogether. 

So much Kilbride intimated to the sergeant as they 
held whispered consultation. Also, he imparted re- 
assuring news anent Redmond. The latter's injury, 
though serious, was not a mortal hurt, according to a 
report from MacDavid, who had left the doctor watch- 
ing his patient closely at the detachment. 

Suddenly, a few paces to the ri^t of where they lay, 
came the sound of one of the party stealthily clearing 
his throat. Poor fellow: his momentary lack of 
caution proved to be his death warrant. 

Crack! A spurt of flame leapt from the velvety- 
black square of casement. The horrid, imforgetable 
cry of a man wounded ante death echoed the shot, 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 263 

and the startled besiegers could bear their comrade 
threshing around amora^st the dead leaves in his agony. 

"Steady, men! steady now! don't expose your- 
selves!" yelled the inspector. "Fire at that window, 
while I get to this man! — keep me covered!" 

His commands were eagerly ot^yed Sheltered by 
the roaring, burst of carbint fire he wrigj^ sideways 
in feverish baste and evenmally gaineid tit*- stricken 
man. The latter i convulsiv- thrwhing of limlK ba4 
ceased and an instant's examination convinced tfe in- 
spector that Gully's random shot had been fatal. 

For awhile the besiegers poured in brisk voltey» 
upon the door and windows, until the inspectiy »v« 
the command to "Cease Fire'" Suddenly mock- 
ingly — hard upon the last shot, the echoes of which 
had barely died away, came a^in the vicious, whip- 
like cracK rf the Luger; this time from the southern 
end of the sfcack. The long-drawn, nerve-shattering 
scream of the first casualty was duplir-;Ued, and a 
carbine volley crashed from the river bank. 

Then up from the attacking party swelled an ex- 
ceeding bitter, angry cry; the grim, deadly exaspera- 
tion of men goaded to the point of recklessly attempting 
ruthless reprisal upon their hidden enemy. With a 



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264 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

total disregard of personal safety many of them sprang 
up out of cover, as if to charge upon their hated 
objective. ' 

"As you werel Back, men I backl" rang out the 
deep, imperious voice of Kilbride. The stern command 
checked the onrush of maddened men. "D'you hear 
me?" he thundered, "Take cover again immediately — 
everyone. . . . I'll give the word when to rush him, 
and that's not yet." 

It said much for the discipline of the Force that 
his commands were obeyed, albeit in somewhat muti- 
nous fashion. The inspector turned to Slavin with fell 
eyes. "Christ!" he said, "there's two men gone! I 
won't chance any more lives in this fashion! I'll give 
him ten minutes to surrender and if he don't give up 
the ghost then. . . . I'll do what an emergency like 
this calls for — what I came prepared to do, if neces- 
sary. Sergeant! take charge of this side until further 
orders; I'm going down the bank to the other party 
afl*ile." 

He stole away through the brush and presently they 
all heard his stentorian tones ring out from the river 
bank. "Gully! oh, Gully! It's Inspector Kilbride 
speaking. I'll give you ten minutes to come out and 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 265 
give yourself up. If you don't — well 1 . . . I've got 
a charge of dynamite here ... and a fuse, and I'll 
blow you and your shack to hell, my man. It's up to 
you — now!" 

There was no response to the inspector's ultimatum. 
Ai»dst dead silence the prescribed time slowly passed. 
Fifteen minutes — then, a gasping murmur of excite- 
ment arose from those on the eastern front, as in the 
rapidly whitening dawn they saw Kilbride suddenly 
reappear around the northern and blank end of the 
buflding. For some few moments they watched his 
actions in awestruck, breathless silence as, with bent 
back, he busied himself with his dangerous task. 

Presently he straightened up. "Now! Look o«it, 
everybody!" he bawled. He struck a match and 
applied it to something that immediately began to 
splutter, and then he retreated a safe distance north- 
ward. All eyes were glued, as if fascinated, to the 
deadly, sputtering fuse. Soon came the dull, mufSed 
roar of an explosion. The walls of the building sagged 
outwards, the roof caved in, and the whole structure 
seemed to coll^we Uke a pack of cards, amW x cloud 
of dust. 

For some few seconds the party gazed fearfully at the 



2 66 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 



"i li 



work of destruction; then a k>wd cheer went up, and 
with one accord all dashed forward, filled with eager, 
morbid curiosity as to what they might find buried 
beneath the ruins. 

^ 'ddenly, midway between the brush and their ob- 
\ tive they checked theii onrush and halted, staring 
i 1 speechless amascment. Pushing his way up, 
apparently from some hole beneath a pile of debris, 
appeared the figure of a huge man. 

In their excitement the attackers had overlooked the 
possibility of a cellar existing below the stone founda- 
tion of the dwelling. At this juncture the party from 
the river bank was rapidly approaching the ruins from 
its western side. The posse was in a dilemma. Neither 
party dare fire at its quarry between them for fear of 
hitting each other. 

Gully apparently either did not realize the situation 
or did not care. With face convulsed v. ith passion, be- 
yond all semblance to a human being, he crouched and 
rushed the party on the eastern side of his wrecked 
home, firing as he came. Badly hit, several of his 
assailants were speedily hor de combat, among them. 
Hardy and McCullough. The whole incident happened 
in quicker time than it takes to relate. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 267 
Then, from out the startled crowd there sprang a 
man. It was Slavin. His hour had come. There 
was something appalling in the spectacle of the two 
gigantic men rushing thus upon each other. Suddenly, 
Gully tripped over a log and fell headlong, his deadly 
gun flying from his grasp. With a sort of uncanny, 
cat-like agility he scrambled to his feet and strove to 
recover his weapon. He was a fraction of a second too 
late. A kick from Slavin sent it whirling several yards 
away, and the next moment the opponents were upon 
each other. 

At the first onslaught the issue of the combat seemed 
doubtful. The ex-sheriff was no wrestler like Slavin, 
but he speedily demonstrated that he was a boxer, as 
well as a gun-man. Cleverly eluding the grasp of his 
powerful assailant for the moment, twice he rocked 
Slavin's head back with fearful left anrl right swings 
to the jaw. With a bestial rumbling in his throat, the 
sergeant countered with a pile-driving punch to the 
other's heart; then, ducking his head to avoid further 
punishment, he grappled with the murderer Roaring 
inarticulately in their Berserker rage, the pair 
bore a closer resemblance to a bear and a gorilla than 
men. 



,h* 



268 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Once in that terrible grip, however, Gully, big and 
powerful man though he was, had not the slightest 
chance with a wrestler of Slavin's ability. Shifting 
rapidly from one cruel hold to another the huge Irish- 
man presently whirled his antagonist up over his hip 
and sent him crashing to the ground, face downwards. 
Then, kneeling upon the neck of his struggling and 
blaspheming victim, he held him down until handcuffs 
finally imprisoned the enormous wrists, and leg-irons 
the ankles. 



,'1 
I 



The grim, long-protracted duel was over at last. 
But at lamentable cost. Two men killed outright, and 
five badly wounded had been the deadly toll exacted 
by Gully in his last, desperate stand. 

The rays of the early morning shone upon a strange 
and solemn scene. Gully, guarded by two constables, 
was seated upon the stone foundation that marked the 
site of his wrecked dwelling. Head in hands, sunk in 
a sort of stupor, his attitude portrayed that of a man 
from whom all earthly hope had fled. Some distance 
away lay the wounded men, being roughly, but sym- 
I)athetically attended to by their comrades. All were 
awaiting now the arrival of the coroner, and also the 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 269 

means of transportation which the inspector had 
ordered MacDavid to requisition for them. 

Presently came those who reverently bore the dead 
upon hastily-constructed stretchers. SilenUy Inspec- 
tor Kilbride indicated a spot near the fringe of brush- 
and there, side by side, they laid them down, covering 
the bodies with a blanlcet dragged from the debris of 
the shattered dwelling. 

Bare-headed, the rest cf the party gathered around 
their officer. Long and .adly Kilbride gazed down 
upon the still forms outlined under their covering 
Twice he essayed to speak, but each time his voice 
failed him. 

"Menl" he said at last huskily, as if to himself. 
"Men! is this what i have brought you into? Is 

this — " 

He choked, and was silent awhile; then; "Ohl" 
cried he suddenly, "God knows 1 . . . under' the cir- 
cumstances I used the best judgment I — " 

But Slavin broke in and laid a tremulous hand on 
his superior's shoulder. "Nol no! Sorr! . . . hush! 
for th> love av Christ! ... Ye must not — " the 
soft Hibernian brogue sank to a gentle hush — "niver 
fear . . . for thim that's died doin' their juty! 



Miaroconr tEsoiurioN test chait 

(ANSI end ISO TEST CHART No. 2) 




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S*,.S Rochester, New rork U609 USA 

r^S (716) 482 - 0300 - Phone 

^^ (716) 288 - 5989 - Fax 



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270 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

'Tis th' Peace, Sorr — th' Peace everlastin' . . - now, 
for Hornsby an' Wade. They were good men. . . ." 

Yorke bent down and, drawing back a fold of the 
blanket, exposed two still white faces. In the centre 
of Hornsby's forehead all beheld Gully's terrible sign- 
manual. Wade had been shot through the throat. 

"Hornsby!" gasped Yorke brokenly, "poor old Gus 
Hornsby!" ... He turned a tired, drawn face up to 
Slavin's. "He was with us in the Yukon, Burke. 
Remember how we used to rag him when he first came 
to us as a cheechaco buck? But the poor beggar never 
used to get sore over it . . . always seemed 
sort of . . . patient . . . and happy ... no matter 
how we joshed him. . . ." 

Gently he replaced the blanket, stared stupidly a 
moment at the grim, haggard face of his sergeant, then 
he burst out crying and wandered away from the sad 
scene. 



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CHAPTER XV 

That very night, whUe gentle sleep 

The people's eyelids kiss'd, 
Two stem-faced men set out from Lynn, 

Through the cold and heavy mist; 
And Eugene Aram walk'd between, ' 

With gyves upon his wrist. 

"the DKEAM of EUOENE ARAM" 

SLOWLY the memorable June day had drawn to a 
close, and now darkness had set in and the moon 
shone brightly down upon the old detachment of 
Davidsburg. It had been a strenuous day for Inspector 
Kilbride and his subordinates, as many details of the 
eventful case had to be arranged ere they could leave 
with their prisoner on the night's train for the Post. 

The inspector's first care, naturally, had been the 
slow and careful conveyance of the wounded men 
(Redmond included )- and the dead -down to the 
special train which still awaited them on the Davids- 
burg siding. The bulk of the party departed with 
them, the officer retaining Slavin, Yorke, and McSpor- 
ran. A coroner's inquest, held that afternoon upon the 

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272 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

remains of the unfortunate hobo, Drinkwater, had re- 
sulted in a verdict of "wilful murder" being returned 
against Ruthven Gully. Two days later, at the Post, 
similar verdicts were rendered in the cases of poor 
Homsby and Wade. 

Throughout the day Gully had remained in a sort of 
sullen, brooding stupor. But now, with the coming of 
night, he seemed to grow restless — pacing within the 
narrow confines of his cell like unto a trapped wolf, 
his leg-shackles clanking at every turn. Seated out- 
side the barred door, McSporran maintained a close 
and vigilant guard. It wanted four hours yet until 
train time and inside the living-room the inspector, 
Slavin, and Yorke were beguiling the interval in low- 
voiced conversation. 

"Strange thing. Sergeant," remarked Kilbride 
musingly, "I can't place him now, but I'll swear I've 
seen this man. Gully, before; somewhere back of 
beyond, I guess. I've been in some queer holes and 
comers on this globe in my time — long before I 
ever took on the Force. Seems he has, too, from what 
you and Yorke have told me. D— — d strangel . . . 
I've got a fairly good memory for faces but — " 

He broke off and looked enquiringly at McSporran, 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 273 

who had siienUy entered just then. "What is it 
McSporran?" ' 

J'GulIy, Sirr!" responded the constable, saluting 
He wad wish tu speak wi' ye, Sirr." 
The inspector's face hardened, and his steely eyes 
glittered strangely as he heard the news. For a brief 
space he remained, chin in hand, in deep thought- then 
nsmg he sauntered slowly over to the prisoner's cell.' 
What is it you want, Gully?" he said quietly 
"Kilbride -Inspector!" came the great rumbling 
bass through the bars. "If you keep me cooped up in 
this pen much longer . . . I tell you! you'll 

have me slinging loose in the head - altogether » " He 
uttered a mirthless, wolf-like bark of a laugh "My 
ears are keener than your me-v,ory-l heard you 
speaking just now. Listen! - a curiously wistful 
note crept into his deep tones, for the inspector had 
made an angry, impatient gesture - "Listen, Kilbridel 
• • . I'm gone up -I know it - therefore, if I sing 
my 'swan song' now or later, it can matter little one 
way or the other; and I would rather sing it to you 
and Slavin and Yorke there than to anyone else. Be- 
fore I am through, you all may -shall we say- 
p'raps judge me a trifle less harshly than you do now 



2 74 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Regard this as . . . practically the last request of a 
man who is as good as dying . . . that — I be allowed 
to sit amongst you once more . . . and talk, and talk, 
and ta — " 

His voice broke, and he left the sentence unfinished. 
For some few seconds the -.••^ector remained motion- 
less, with bent head, just looking — and looking — in 
deep, reflective silence at the doomed man who im- 
portuned him. 

"Am I to understand that you wish to make a state- 
ment. Gully?" he said, in even, passionless tones. 
"Remember! — you've been charged and warned, 
man — whatever you say'll be used in evidence against 
you at your trial." 

The other, hesitating a moment, swallowed ner- 
vously in his agitation. 

"Yes," he said huskily, "I know — but that's all 
right! ... As I said before — it can make little or 
no difference ... in my case. . . ." 

Turning, Kilbride silently motioned to McSporran to 
unlock the cell-door. 

The huge manacled prisoner emerged, and shuffled 
awkwardly towards the inner room, closely attended 
by his armed escort. 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 275 
Slavin and Yorke, seated together at one end of the 
table, arose as Gully entered. Standing curiously stiH 
as .f carved in stone, their bitter eyes alone bet^ 
the.r emotions, silently they gazed at the huge glun" 
-kempt figure that came shambling towaf^ Tem 
Gully halted and stared long and fixedly at the 
relentless aces of the two men whose grim, dogged vigi! 
lance had ,ed to his undoing. Over his iL^^JZ 

hj^ard^face there swept the peculiar ruthless S 
which they knew so well; and he raised his manacled 
hands m a semblance of a salute 

"^orituri te salutantr he muttered in his harsh 
growhng bass - the speech nevertheless of an educid 

"Eh, fwhat?" queried Slavin vaguely. The classical 
a«us.on was lost on him, but Kilbride and Yokfet 
changed a grim, meaning smile as they recalled Z 
ancient formula of the Roman arena McS^r.^„ 
P^hed forward a chair, into which Gully dr^^.^ 
heav ly. Chm cupped in hands, and elbows resting^ 
knees he remamed for a space in an attitude of pro- 
^ound thougr^ The inspector, resuming his chair at 
the table, motioned his subordinates to be seated anH 
reached forward for some writing matertls ' 



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276 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"All right, now, Gully! " he began, in a hard, metallic 
tone. "What is it you wish to say ?" All waited expectantly. 

Apparently with an effort Gully roused himself out 
of the deep reverie into which he had sunk, and for a 
space he gazed with blood-shot eyes into tha calm, 
stem face of his questioner. Then, with a sort of 
dreamy sighing ejaculation, he roused himself and, 
leaning back in his chair, began the following remark- 
able story. He spoke in a recklessly earnest manner 
and with a sort of deadly composure that startled and 
impressed his hearers in no little degree. 

"Listen, Inspector," he said. "A good deal of the 
story I'm going to tell you has no bearing on the — 
the — the — case in hand. There's no use in you 
taking all this down. I understand procedure" — he 
smiled wanly — "therefore, with your permission I'll 
go ahead, and you can construct a brief statement on 
your own lines afterwards, which I will sign." 

Kilbride bowed his head in assent to the other's 
request. 

"The name I bear now," began the prisoner,— 
" 'Ruthven Gully' — is my real name, though knocking 
around the world like I've been since I was a kid of 
sixteen, and the many queer propositions I've b^tn up 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 277 

against in my time, why -I've found it expedient to 
use various aliases. 

"For instance" -he eyed the inspector keenly - 
"I wasn't known as 'Gully' that time Cronje nailed us 
all at Doornkop, Kilbride, in 'ninety-six. . . ." 

Kilbride uttered a startled oath. Shaken out of his 
habitual stem composure he stared at the man before 
him in sheer amazement. "Good God ! " he cried, "The 
'Jameson Raid!' ... Now I know you, man! -you're 
-you're -wait a bit! I've got it on the tip of my 
tongue — Mor-Mor — Mordaunt, by gad! . . . 
that's what you called yourself then. Ever since I sat 
with you on that case I've been turning it over in 
my head where in ever I'd fore-gathered with you 
before. It was your moustache which fooled me — 
you were clean-shaven then. . . Well, Well! ." 
He was silent awhile, overcome by the discovery. 
"Aye!" he resumed in an altered voice, "I've got good 
cause to remember you, Mor - Gully, I mean. You 
certainly saved my life that day . . . when we were 
lying in that donga together. I was hit pretty bad, 
and you stood 'em off. You were a wonderful shot, I 
recollect. I saw you flop out six Doppers — one after 
the other." 



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278 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

He turned to Slavin. "Sergeant!" he said quietly, 
"You'd better leave the leg-irons on, but remove his 
handcuffs — for the timi -being, anyway. . . ." He 
addressed himself to the prisoner with a sort of sad 
sternness. "It's little I can do for you now, Gully . . . 
but I can do that, at least. . . ." 

Slavin complied with his officer's request. Gully's 
huge chest heaved once, and he bowed his h'-ad in 
silent acknowledgment of Kilbride's act of leniency. 

"All right! go ahe:d. Gully!" said the latter. 

The prisoner took up his tale anew. "As I was say- 
ing — I left the Old Country when I was sbtteen. No 
need to drag in family troubles, but . . . that's 
why. . . . Well! I hit for the States. Montana for a 
start off, and it sure was a tough state in 'seventy-four, 
I can tell you. That's where I first learned to handle a 
gun. I knocked around between there and Wyoming 
and Arizona for about nine years, and during that time 
I guess I tackled nearly every kind of job under the 
sun, but I punched and rode for range outfits mostly. 

"Then I was struck with a fancy to see the South, 
and I drifted to Virginia. I'd been there about two 
years, working as an overseer on a tobacco plantation, 
when I got a letter from our family's solicitor recalling 



H! 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 279 

me home. My eldest brother had died, and the estate 
had passed on to me. Where. Inspector? — why, it 
was at Castle Brompton, a quiet little country town in 
Worcestershire. 

"WeJlI I'd had a pretty rough training — living the 
life of a roustabout for so many years, and I guess I 
kind of ran amuck when I struck home. I played 
ducks and drakes with the estate, and the end of it was 
... I got heavily involved in debt. There seemed 
nothing ior it but to up-anchor, and to sea again in 
my shirt. .So, my fancy next took me to Shanghai, 
where I obtained a poorly-paid Civil Service job — 
in the Customs. I stuck that for about a year, and 
then I pulled out — disgusted. The next place I 
landed up in was, if anything, worse — the Gold Coast. 
From there I .'rifted to the Belgian Congo. I was 
there for nearly two years doing — well! perhaps it's 
best for me not to enter into details — we'll call it 
'rubber.' It's a cruel country that — one that a man 
doesn't exactly stay in for his health, inyway; for a 
bad dcse of fever nearly fixed me. It made me fed up 
with the climate and — the life. So I pulled out of 
it and went down country > the Transvaal. That's 
how I came to get mixed up in 'The R^jd,' Inspector. 



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II 



j8o the luck of the MOUNTED 

I was in Jo'burg at the time it was framed up, so I 
threw in my lot with the rest of you. 

"Suddenly I had an overwhelming desire to go back 
to the States and the range life again. I was properly 
fed up with Africa. So — back I went there — to 
Montana again. I punched for one or two cow-outfits 
awhile, and then came a time when a deputation of 
citizens came and put it up to me if I'd take on the 

office of Deputy-Sheriff for County, where I 

happened to be working. I suppose the fact of my 
being a little more handy with a gun than most had 
impressed some of them. Things were running wild 
there just then, and for awhile I tell you, I was up 
against a rather dirty proposition. I and my guns 
certainly worked overtime for a stretch, till I got 
matters more or less ship-shape. I had the backing of 
the best people in the community luckily, and even- 
tually I won out. 

"Then — when the inevitable reaction set in with 
the peaceable times that followed, somehow I managed 
to get in bad with some of them. They had no more 
use for me or my guns. I was like a fish out of water. 
I decided to pull out, for a strange hankering to see 
England .\nd my old home again came over me. So I 



k 



THE LUCK OF THE MO"x\TED -Si 
cX "'';'''' '-' '^^'^ "-^^ to the Old 

h^fn •'^'v "^'"^ '" •"' """'''''' ^""y dropped his 

Snl'\ H ?'' '"' '"""''^ "~"'y ^"•'"^ "- ^o"- 
fnuing haltingly: "It was the mistak of my life- 

ever going back - to a civilized country. For a time I 
strove to conduct myself as a law-abiding British citi- 
zen -to conform to the ne order of things, but- 
I had been amongst the rough stuff too long I 
was out of my sphere entirely. 

"One day, in a hotel at Leeds, I got ir*o a violent 
quarrel wath a man - fellow of the name Hammond. 
It was over a woman. He insulted me -in front of 
a crowd of men at that -and finally he struck me 
Hitherto I'd taken no oack-down from any man living, 
and I guess I forgot myself then and kind of ran 
amuck - fancied I was back in Montana again. Conse- 
quence was -I threw down on him in front of this 
crowd and shot him dead. 

"Of course I was arrested and charged with murder 
in the first degree; but as it was adduced at my trial 
that I'd received a certain amount of provocation I 
was sent down for fifteen years. I'd done little over 
SIX months of my time in Barmsworth Prison when I 



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282 -THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

and two of my fellow convicts framed up a scheme 
to escape. It takes too long to go into details how we 
worked it. I made my get-away, though I had to 
abolish a poor devil of a warder in doing so. The other 
two lost out. One got shot and the other was caught 
some days later — as I read in the papers. 

"Well! I managed to reach the States again, and 
eventually came over this side of the line. As I had 
been convicted and sentenced under the alias which 
I had adopted while in England — my real name never 
coming out — I resumed my name of Gully again when 
I settled down here. My relatives, what few I possess, 
hav2 never known of my conviction and imprisonment. 
All the time I was in England on my second trip I 
was clean-shaven, but on returning to the States I let 
my moustache grow once more. As you said, Kilbride 
— it is a very effectual disguise. Will one of you give 
me a drink, please? My mouth's pretty dry with all 
this talking." 

Yorke got up and brought him a glass of water, and 
he drank it down with a murmur of thanks. 

"Now! " he said, continuing his narrative: "I'm com- 
ing to the worst part of all. You'll all wonder I've not 
gone mad — brooding; but I've got to go through with 



I 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 283 

it. When I settled down here I honestly did struggle 
hard to live down my past and start afresh with a 
clean sheet. I borrowed some money from an old ex- 
sheriff friend of mine in Montana - which loan by the 
way, I have paid all back - every cent - and bought" 
-he gazed gloomily at Kilbride - "what was my 
home. But somehow . . . Fate seems to have dogged 
m- ... tnpped me up in the end. Until last January 
ev, > .^mg was going well with me. As Slavin and 
Yo.ke here can testify ... I was conducting myself 
fairly and squarely with all men. 

"Then -one day Yorke brought that Blake and 
Moran case up in front of me. Both of these men I'd 
met before, but they didn't recognize me again -not 
absolutely. I usually contrived to keep pretty clear 
of them for reasons which will appear obvious later 
I'm coming to that. Moran I recognised as a former 
Montana tough who used to hang around Havre - 
bronco-buster, cow-puncher, and tin-horn by turns 
Many a time I've caught him sizing me up, in Cow 
Run and elsewhere - mighty hard, too, but he never 
seemed to be sure of me. Once he did chance a feeler 
but I just twirled my moustache, k la Lord Tomnoddy' 
and bluffed him to a finish, ' 



m } 



284 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Larry Blake" — a ruthless gleam flickered momen- 
tarily in Gully's deep-set, shadowy eyes — "Larry 
Blake, I recognized as the son of the Governor of 
Barmsworth Prison — old Gavin Blake. Sometimes this 
young fellow used to come aroimd with his father, 
when the old gentleman was making his daily tour of 
inspection. I well remember the first time I sa-y him 
— young Larry. I was chipping stone in the quarry, 
amongst a gang, with a ball and chain on. I'd been in 
about two months then. The Governor was showing 
some visitors around, and his son was with him. They 
were staring at us like people do at wild animals in 
a show. I was pointed out to them, and my recent 
crime mentioned. I remember young Blake eying me 
with especial interest. He came out to Canada and hit 
these parts about two years after I'd located here. 

"Well! now and again when we'd run across each 
other I'd find him looking at me in a queer, vague 
fashion, too; but I felt safe enough with him, like I 
did with Moran — until this case came up. After it was 
over, he and I happened to be alone, and, in a round- 
about way, he began asking me questions. He did it 
so climisily, though, that my suspicions were aroused at 
once. Of course I bluffed him — or thought I had — 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 285 

tte Post Office getting n,y mail when, amongst a bunch 
o letters on the counter I saw one addressed to "Gavin 
Blake, Esq, Governor of Barmsworth Prison. Eng- 
and." OM Kelly, the postmaster, having hi bacl 

Zt. "":; '""''''« ^'"""'^ ^^ pigeon-holes, 
promptly annexed this letter and slipped it into my 

YoTbV/''"'" '■* "P "^ ^'"P'"*'"^ -- verified. 

a Zn ^ r'' *° "'^ '^*^^ *^' '^^''^ -- across 
a man whom he could almost swear to as being one of 
^e three convicts who'd broken out of Bar^swor^ 

Te in r '"^'- .!''' ^""^ ^"^^ ^»^P^ ^^'<^ better 
tak m the case - if the original warrant issued for me 
^uld be orwarded to the Mounted Police, and so on. 
He said h.s mtentions were to try and gain furthe 

about h.s suspicions until he received definite instruc 
tions what steps to take. 

"I guess the devil must have got a good grin on m. 
a^-nafterr^readthatletter. 'it seeml7use t^! 

Sake T'"- ""' ^' "^^ °"*^'<^-« '"^e yo-g 
Blake making it their business to butt in and lay one 

by the heels. Anyway, like Satan at prayers, I L't 




286 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

feel like being coolly sacrificed when my years of honest 
effort were drawing near their reward in the shape 
of a fairly prosperous ranch — just at the whim of a 
lazy, profligate young busy-body. 

"From that hour Larry Blake was practically — 
'gone up.' I'd deliberately made up my mind to put 
him out of business on the first convenient opportunity 
that presented itself. That opportunity came on the 
night he was fighting with Moran in the hotel. I 
thought I could kill two birds with one stone. I'll 
admit it was a devilish idea, but I was desperate. Of 
course things didn't shape out as I'd planned — 
Moran's alibi for instance, or that hobo, Drinkwater. 

"I know to you it will only appear sheer nonsense on 
my part ever to start in attempting to justify my — my 
abolishment of him. But this — what I am going to 
tell you — is the absolute truth of what happened. In 
the first place — when he spotted me bringing Moran's 
horse into the stable that night — although I was mad 
and man-handled the pior devil at the time — I felt 
fairly easy in my mind later, thinking he would drift 
out of town next day, after the manner of his kind. 
But when he was brought up in front of me afterwards, 
I realized the serious predicament I was in." 



i 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 287 
He turned to Slavin. "Sergeant!" he went on: "I'l, 
admu I was feeling pretty queer when you were ex 
— g that man-especially about the smelling of 
dnnk business. Pd slipped him a snort of Sey 
after you'd gone down to Doctor Cox's to ,T^, 
papers s.gned. I told him to keep his mout^ shuti 
he wa. .oned about any horse or man - and tha 
Id get h.m off if he obeyed my instructions O 
course he didn't know what all this was for. He had 
no opportunity of knowing- never did know, though 
I fancy he thought it was a case of horse.;tealing 
^yway, my promises and the drink made him my ally 
at once On,y human nature for him to side with 
me agamst the Police. As you know, Sergeant you 
can get n.ore definite resulu from that cla s of mL 

^'t:etSd'^^^^'^-^-"^^------e: 

"My original intention in taking him out to my 

h.m adnft westward,, and so out of things. But after 
we got home and I put the proposition up to him, Z 
beggar began to assert himself and get bold and saucy 

threatening he>d go and tell you everything if I didn't 






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288 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

come across, and all that. Finally I lost my temper 
with him and gave him a good slap across the face. 
He happened to be outside the house bucking wood at 
the time, and, when I hit him, he came for me with 
the axe. I only jumped back just in time, as he 
struck. I threw down on him and put him out of 
business right-away then, realizing 1 was up against 
it." 

Gully halted for a space and leaned his head in his 
bands. "Gcd!" he muttered presently, "what nights 
I've had! I've killed many men in my time, but those 
two — I hated framing up all that business on 
you fellows next day — those tracks and the bill- 
folder, and all that useless chasing for a week, but it 
seemed to me to be the only plausible bluff I could 
run on you, under the circumstances. Not".', are there 
any more things you don't understand? Any ques- 
tions you'd like to ask me?" 

"Yesl" queried Sia^-in. "How did you get to Cal- 
gary that night — after you'd missed the nine-thirty 
eastbound. Jump a freight, or what? You were 
seen to get on the train. ..." 

"I know that," said Gully slowly, "I did it for a 
blind. I walked through the coarbes and slipped out 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 289 

again at the far end of the platfonn-ln the dark 
No! I didn't jump a freight, Sergeant. I was tempted 
to, but on second thoughts the idea made me feel kind 
of uneasy. Perhaps you'll be dubious of this, but as 
a .act, I took a 'tie-pass' - walked it all the way to 
Calgary on the track. I was about done when I made 
Shagnappi Point, beating my passage through all that 
snow. I bought a new pair of cow-puncher's boots 
while I was in town. You remember I was wearing 
them when I returned. I had the overshoes wrapped 
up as a parcel and packed them back to the ranch and 
burnt them — and Drinkv ..ter's boots." 

"How about that Savage automatic?" said Yorke 
"the one you shot those dogs with yesterday? We've 
got your Luger, but where's the Savage gun?" 

"Oh, yesi" replied Gully wearily, "of course I had 
two guns. I never used to pack the Luger around - 
afterwards, well I ... for obvious reasons. You'll 
probably find the Savage in the cellar at my place - 
that's if it isn't buried, like I nearly was." 

There was a long silence, broken only by the 
scratch, scratch, of the inspector's pen, as he rapidly 
mdited a formal statement for the prisoner to sign 
Once during its composition he halted for a brief 



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290 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
space and, leaning back in his chair, gazed long with 
a sort of dreary sternness at the huge, unkempt figure 
before him. 

"Gully," he said slowly, "whatever in God's name 
put it into your head to stand off the Police in the 
way you did? Shooting those two poor chaps and 
nearly putting the kibosh on five others I WhatevCT 
did you hope to gain by it? You must have known 
it was absolutely impossible for you to make your 
get-away from us. Why, man! we had you cornered 
like a wolf in a Uap. It was wors^i than silly and 
useless and cruel for you to act in the way you did'" 

■'Oh, my God! I don't know! " moaned Gully, rock- 
ing despondently with his head in his hands. "I must 
have gone clean mad for the time being. ...» He 
gazed gloomily at Slavin and Yorke, muttering half 
to himself: "What little things do trip a man up in 
the end! The best laid schemes 0' mice and men! 
But for my shooting those cursed dogs yesterday you'd 
never, never have suspected me. The whole thing 
would just have been filed and forgotten in time — 
would just have remained one of those unfathomable 
mysteries. Directly after I'd thrown down on those 
curs I realized what a d d bad break I'd made — 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 291 
what my momentary loss of temper was going to cost 
me. I could tell by the way you aU looked at me 
what was in your minds. ...» 

"Yes but how about that fishing expedition of ours, 
Gully?" said Vorke. "You seem to have forgotten 
that. And he related the story of Redmond's dive 
•Ah!" retorted Gully, bitterly. "And yet you might 
have got snagged a hundred times there and only jus' 
cursed and snapped your line and reeled in, thinking it 
was a log or something. . . . Well, as I was saying I 
reahzed the jig was up after that dog business, and 
directly I g3t home I began making preparations for 
my get-away last night. If you'd all only have come 
^alf an hour later than you did - That's what made 
me so mad -just another half hour later, mind you 
and I would have been away -en route for the Coast 
by the night train." 

Presently Kilbride threw aside his pen and straight- 
ened up. "Now, listen, Gully!" he said. An/ he 
read out the confession that he had composed fron. the 
mam facts of the prisoner's remarkable statement 

"Yes!" muttered Gully thoughtfully, as the insoec- 
tor finished. "Yes, that will do, Kilbride. Give" me 
the pen, please, and I will sign it. ..." 






292 THiS LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

He proceeded to affix his signature, continuing with 
a sort of deadly composure: "I have endorsed and 
executed many death-warrants in my time — in my 
capacity of Deputy-Sheriff — I little thought that some 
day I might be called upon to sign my own . . . 
which this document virtually is. ..." 

He reared himself up to his huge, gaunt height, and 
with a sweeping glance at his captors addfd: "Nothing 
remains for me now I imagine, but to shake hands 
with — Radcliffe.* ..." 

And his dreadful voice died away like a single grim 
note of a great, deep-toned bell, tolled perchance in 
some prison-yard. 

"Eshcorrt! Get ready!" boomed out Sergeant 
Slavin's harsh command. The party was on the sta- 
tion platform. Yorke and McSporran fell in briskly 
on either side of their heavily-manacled prisoner, and 
stood watching the distant lights of the oncoming east- 
bound train as it rounded the Davidsburg bend. 

One last despairing glance Gully cast about him at 
the all familiar surroundings, then he raised his fet- 
tered hands on high and lifted up his great voice: 

*Note by Author — Canada's official executioner at tliia period. 



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THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED ,93 

"I have strivenl I have striven! -and now I J 
Ohl there « no God. Bear witn« iere is no Godl 
NoGodI . . "he cried to the heavens 

Ihe wild, harsh, dreadful blasphemy rang far and 
wide out .ntc U.e night, floating over the nearby river 
and finally jying ^^^y a ghasUy murmur up among 
the trniber-lined spurs of Crag Caiion 

And a huge, gaunt lobo wolf, lying at the crest of 
the draw, flung up his gray head and howled back his 

rrLT~'""'"«'^ '° *^^°= "There is no GodI 
no Uod! 



CHAPTER XVI 

"Fell my pidhe, ah, if you uant to, but It ato'( much 

me to try — " 
"Ntver say that," said tht Surfton, as he smothered 

doum a sigh; 
"Chueh a brace, lor it won't do, man, lor a soldier 

to say diet" 
"What you say don't make no diS'runce, Doctor, am' — 

you viouUn't lie. ..." 

"TBI OLB BnCtANT" 

GIT THERE! Come a-Haw-r-r, theni Whoa!" 
With a flourish, Constable Miles Sloan, the 
Regimental Teamster, swung the leaders of 
his splendid four-in-hand and pulled up at the front 
entrance of the Holy Cross Hospital. Slewing around 
on his high box-seat he addressed himself to the 
drag's occupants, Slavin and Yorke. 

"I don't know whether they will let you see him, or 
not," he remarked doubtfully, "he's a pretty sick 
man.'' 

"We will chance ut, anyway," mumbled Slavin, as 
he and Yorke climbed out of the rig. "Ye'd best wait 
awhile, Miles! We shan't be long." 

>94 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 295 
Quietly -very quietly, Sister Marthe opened the 
door of room Number Fifty-six, and with list-slippered 
noiselessness stepped out into the corridor 

"Oh, Mon Dieul" she ejaculated, startled at the 
sudden apparition of two scarlet-coated figures stand- 
ing motionless ouUide the door, "Oh, m'sieurs, 'ow 
you fnght mel" and the expressive eyes under the 
white co.f and the shoulders and supple hands of the 
French-Canadian Nursing-Sister made great play 

Yorke saluted her with grave courtesy. "Sister" 
he said anxiously, "how is Constable Redmond d^ng? 
«-an we see him?" 

She glanced irresolutely a moment at the handsome, 
"nplormg countenance of the speaker, and then her 
gaze flickered to his huge companion. The silent 
wistful appeal she read in the latter's grim, cadaverous 
face decided her. 

"Eheul" she said softly, " 'e is a ver' seeck man 
• . . but come then, m'sieurs, if you wish it I" 
Cautiously they tip-toed into the room behind her 
Yes! They decided, he was a "seeck" man all right' 
So sick that he could not raise his flushed, hollow- 
cheeked young face from the pillow to salute his com- 
rades with his customary impious bonhomie. Now 






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296 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

gabbling away to himself in the throes of delirium, 
ever his feverish eyes stared beyond the hospital-walls 
westwards to Davidsburg. 

With his brow contracted with an expression of vague 
worry, he was living over and over again the memorable 
night in which he had gotten his wound. 

"Slavin! — Yorkey!" he kept repeating, in tones 
of such yearning entreaty that moved those individuals 
mc than they cared to show. Yes, they were both of 
them Ihere, standing by the side of his cot; but the 
poor sufferer's unseeing eyes betrayed no recognition. 

The deep sorrow that oppressed Slavin and Yorke 
just then those worthies rarely — if ever — alluded to 
afterwards. Passing the love of women is the un- 
spoken, indefinable spirit of true comradeship that 
exists between some men. 

For one brief, soul-baring moment the comrades 
stared at each other, their self-conscious faces re- 
flecting mutually their inmost feelings; then Yorke 
turned to Sister Marthe. 

"What does the Doctor say?" he whispered 
anxiously. 

The nurse was about to make answer when the 
door was softly opened and that gentleman entered the 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 297 

room, accompanied by Captain Bargrave and Inspector 
Kilbride. ' 

Involuntarily, from long habit of discipline, Slavin 
and Yorke, stiffened to "attention" in the presence of 
their superiors, until, with a kindly, yet withal 
slightly imperious gesture, the O.C. mutely 
signified them to relax their formal attitude. 
The Regimental Surgeon, Dr. Sampson, a tall, 
gray-moustached, pleasant-faced man, nodded to 
them familiarly and proceeded to m^k*. minute 
examination of his patient's wound. From time 
to Ume he questioned and issued low-voiced instructions 
to Sister Martha. Perfectly motionless, the grave- 
eyed quartette of policemen stood grouped around the 
cot, silently awaiting the physician's verdict. 

Throughout, poor Redmond had continued to toss 
and rave incessantly. Much of his babbling was in- 
coherent and fragmentary - breaking off short in the 
middle of a sentence or dying away in a mumbling, 
indistinct murmur. At intervals though, his voice rang 
out with startling clearness. 

^ "Ah-a-a! Here he is!" he cried out suddenly, 
t'Ully! -all eyes were centred on the flushed, un- 
quiet face and restless hands. There seemed a curious 



rilv;. 



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298 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

morbid fascination in watching the workings of that 
sub-conscious mind. "No use, Gullyl You can't make 
it from there!" — the twitchinE hands made a motion 
as of leveUing a carbine — "No use, man 1 I've got you 
covered. . . . You' better give in! . . ." 

He paused for a space, panting feverishly, then his 
eyes became wilder and his speech more rapid. 

"No! no! Gully!" he gasped out imploringly, "it's 
Yorkey, I tell you — oh, don't pick off Yorkey! 
Drink? . . ." — tiie unnaturally bright eyes stared 
unseeingly at the motionless figure of the O.C, stand- 
ing at die foot of tiie cot — "Not so much — now — 
since — looking aftei him. ... Not a bad chap. . . . 
We fought once. ... Yes, Sir! . . . had — hell of a 
fight! . . . Pax? . . . sure! —bless you! —buried 
ruddy hatchet — auld lang syne — Slavin. ... St. 
Agnes' Eve! . . . How he sings— ! Oh, shut up, 
Yorkey! — Sings, I tell you — ! Hark! . . . that's 
him singin' now— Listen! . . . What? . . . it's 
Stevenson's 'Requiem'. . . . Burke! Burke! ... the 

's always singin' that . . . goes — " 

And the weak, fretful voice shrilled up in a quaver- 
ing falsetto — 



m 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 299 

"Under the wide - and - starry sky 
Dig — the grave, and ~ let me — tie- 

^'^,f^. '~^"'- """-ei^'y die, 

Ana I laid — me dovm with — aw " 

The shaky, pitiful tones died away i„ vague, in- 
coherent mumblings. 

Yorke uttered a queer choking sound in his throat 
and turned h. face away from the little group. Slavin' 
!" '"t ^°'»Prehending sympathy, laid a huge hand on' 
U. outer's shoulder to steady him. In customary 
Brmsh fashion, the O.C. and the Inspector strove to 
mask the.r emotions under an exaggerated grimness of 
m.en, only their eyes betraying their feelings. The 
former toying with his sweeping, fair moustache in 
agitated fashion, gazed drearily around the sick-room 
till his stern, yet kindly old eyes finally came to rest 
upon a framed scriptural quotation which was hanging 
on the wall above the head of the c 

In corpulent, garish, black, red and gold German 
text the inscription ran: 

At even, when the sun was set. 
The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay; 
Ok in what divers pains they metl 
Ok m what joy they went away I 



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300 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

Abstractedly, the old soldier read and re-read the 
verse till his eyes ached, and he was forced to lower 
them and meet the tell-tale ones of Kilbride. 

The Doctor, with a final satisfied scrutiny of his 
patient's wound, which he had laid bare, bade the nurse 
dress it afresh, then, beckoning to the others, he with- 
drew from the room, followed by the O.C. and his 
subordinates. The Doctor's first words reassured them 
in no little degree. 

"Oh, I've good hopes of him," he said. "He seems 
to be doing all right. He'll pull around -that is, 
unless any unforeseen complications set in. It's that 
journey down here yesterday that's upset him. Ab- 
solutely necessary under the circumstances, of course, 
but — terribly hard on a man in his condition. I 
think it'll be best for nobody to visit him — for awhile 
anyway . . . must be kept as quiet as possible. 
Well! let's have a look at the others!" 

The remaining wounded men occupied a large, semi- 
private ward lower down the corridor. Of these last 
Hardy's case was by far the most serious. He had 
been shot through the body; the high-pressure 
Luger bullet luckily missing any vital organ. Mc- 
Cullough had been drilled through the calf of his left 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 301 

iLT"".*^'""^ "^^ ""' ^^ »«" had had the 
knuckles stripped from his right hand. AH of thl 
were^esung .uietly, though w^ f.. ,0. of ^Z 
and the train journey. 

The O.C. and Kilbride remained for a short time 
-the ward, manifesting much kindly sympathy fo 
the mjured men, then, deeming that perha^ the party 
was re^rding the nurses' ministrations, the Q.C w ^ 
drew, beckoning his subordinates to follow him 
Slavm and Yorke walked slowly down the hospital 

gaaered up h.s hues and swung around on his high 

ag2tr'«' """'"^ ''^'^'y- "Here you are 

k S; We,f r '" *"' ^°" ^"^ '-«' - there for 
Keeps ! Well, did you see him ?» 

teZrJ '"'"'''' """■'' '""^'^^'y- ^--ding the 
teamster's eyes, "We've seen him. Home, James!" 

Finn, measured footsteps sounded in the hospital 
corridor and halted with a Jingle of spurs outside^ 
door of room Number Fifty-six 

"Come aboardi" came the dear, boyish voice of 



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302 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

its occupant, in response to a ruckle-tattoo on the 

panel, and the visitors, Slavin and Yorke, entered. 

Redmond, sitting up in bed, comfortably propped 
with pillows, threw aside the magazine he had been 
reading and greeted the new-comers jovially and with 
a light in his eyes which did the hearts of those 
worthies good to see. 

A month's careful nursing and absolute quiet had 
transformed their wounded comrade into a somewhat 
different being from the delirious patient they had 
beheld when last they stood in that room. Allowing 
for a slight emaciation and the inevitable hospital 
pallor, he appeared to be well on the road to con- 
valescence. 
"Sit at ease!" he said, with a fair semblance of his 

old grin. "Smoke up if you want to, they don't kick 

about it here. I've tried it but it tastes rotten as yet. 

Weill What's doin' in L?" (He referred to the 

Division.) 
"Hell, yu' mane," corrected Slavin grimly, as he 

and Yorke proceeded to divest themselves of their 

side-arms and unbutton their tunics. "Not much doin' 

now, but — later, p'raps. . . ." 
"Just got back from Supreme Court," explained 



'1 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 303 

Yorke. "Guflyl . . . He's to be 'bumped off- this 
day-month. ..." 
There came a long, tense silence. 

"G d!" broke out Yorke suddenly, arousing 

Redmond out of the deep reverie into which he had 
sunk on receipt of the news -"the look on that Eu- 
gene Aram face of his . when tlie jury filed in and 
threw the book at him! . I can't forget it somehow " 
"Well! yeh want tu thin!" remarked Slavin blunUy 
"Quit ut! . . . d'ju hear? . . . 'Tis no sort av 
talk, that, for a sick room. ..." 
And hereafter they all avoided the sinister subject 
Presently McCullough came limping in on his 
crutches, and ere long that wily individual succeeded 
with his customary ingenuity in inveigling the com- 
pany into a facetious barrack-room argument. Later 
they commenced relating racy stories. 

Slavin's deep-set eyes began to twinkle and glow 
as he unburdened himself of a lengthy narrative con- 
cermng a furlough he had spent in his native land 
many years back, in which Ballymeen Races, a dis- 
reputable "welshing" bookmaker, himself, a jug of 
whiskey and a blackthorn stick were all hopelessly 
muted in one grand Hibernian tangle. 




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304 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

"Beat ut, he did, over hedge an' bog an' ditch, wid 
all our money, th' dhirrty dog. But I cud run tu, in 
thim days, an' whin I caught up I shure did play a 
tchune on th' nob av uml" concluded the sergeant 
thoughtfully. In pursuance of his daily round of the 
wards, Dr. Sampson presently came swinging in 
amongst them and saluted the party with his usual 
breezy bonhomie. A universal favourite with the 
members of the Force his entry was acclaimed with 
delight. They promptly bade him sit down and con- 
tribute -i la Boccaccio — to their impromptu De- 
cameron, which rep'-^t he (sad to relate) complied 
with. 

Amid the roar of laughter that greeted the Doctor's 
last bon mot, that gentleman looked ruefully at his 
watch and prepared to depart. 

"Twenty past twelve!" he ejaculated, "and I've got 
four more patients to see yet. . . I Behold the re- 
tarding influences of bad company!" 

"Say, Doctor," enquired Yorke, "how's Hardy 
doing? Is he bucking up at all? He was pretty down 
in the mouth last time I saw him." 

The Doctor's genial countenance clouded slightly. 
"Well, no!" he said, gravely, "he's not doing well at 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 305 
all. I've been rather worried over him lately. The 
man's relapsed into a curious state of inertia — seems 
incapable of being roused. Organically he's nothing 
to fear now; I'll stake my professional reputation on 
that. But when a man gets down like he is now, why, 
the mind often reacts on the body with serious results.' 
If he was in a tropical climate he'd snuff out like a 
candle. That's all that's retarding his otherwise cer- 

tam recovery now — if we could only " 

Here, McCuUough, who had been an interested 
listener broke in. "Rouse him, Doctor?" he queried, 
"you say he wants rousing? . . . Is that all? . 
All right then! . . .1 know him better than you 
do — I'll bet you I'll rouse him!" he concluded a trifle 
brutally. 

And he swung off on his crutches and presently 
levered himself into the ward where Hardy lay. 

In actual bodily recovery the latter's physical con- 
dition fully equalled Redmond's, but the brooding, 
listless demeanor of the patient confirmed only too' 
well the Doctor's diagnosis. Now, sunk in the coma 
of utter dejection. Hardy was lying back on his pillows 
like a man weary of life. 

Sometime earlier, in response to his earnest solid- 



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306 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

tetions, he had been allowed to have his beloved parrot 
in hospital with him. All day long the disreputable- 
looking bird gabbled away contentedly as it climbed 
around in its cage, which had been placed on a small 
table alongside the cot. 

McCuUough's first move was to resort to the never- 
failing expedient of arousing the parrot's ire by puffing 
tobacco-smoke into its cage. Mechanically the out- 
raged bird responded with a shocking blast of invec- 
tive, winking rapidly its white parchment-lidded eyes 
and swinging excitedly to and fro on its perch. 

Hardy admonished the joker — lethargically, but 
with a certain degree of malevolence in his weary 
tones. 

"Aw, chack it, Mac! " he drawled. "Wy carn't yer 
let th' bleedin' bird alone? Yer know 'e don't like 
that bein' done t'im. Jes' 'awk t'im tellin' yer as 
much!" 

McCullough turned on his crutches and leered 
awhile upon the speaker with a sort of mournful 
triumph, than he lifted up his voice in a very fair 
imitation of Hardy's own unmusical wail 

"Old soldiers never die, never die, never die. 
Old soldiers never die — tkey simply fade aw-ay." 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 307 

"I don't think I" he concluded sotto voce to Davis, 
as that individual, sitting down on the next cot began 
preparing his wounded arai for the ministraUons of 
Sister Marthe who had just entered the ward. 

"No use!" McCuIlough rambled on. "I tell yu* th' 
man's as good as 'gone up.' Harry. . . . Weill 
I'll have old Kissiwasti when he pegs out anyway. I 
won't half smoke-dry th' old beggar then! I'U teach 
him to swear. . . I" 

"Ehl . . . 'Ere, wot abaht it?" 

The cockney's voice held no trace of lethargy now. 
The sharply-uttered, vindictive query was matched by 
the blazing eyes which were regarding the farrier- 
corporal with undisguised hostility. 

"Wot abaht wot?" mimicked McCullough, though 
his heart smote him for the cold-blooded evasion. 

"Wot abaht wot you sed abaht me. . . ?" 

"Well, wot abaht it. . . ?" 

Speechless with rage, for a moment Hardy gazed 
into the other's nonchalant mask-like visage, then, with 
a gesture of maniacal impotence, he raised his clenched 
fists high above his head. 

Sister Marthe now judged it high time to inter- 
vene. During the enactment of this little tableau she 



I"l ! 



308 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 
had stood looking on in mute bewilderment. Despite 
her imperfect knowledge of English, and especially the 
vernacular, she had a shrewd intuition of what had 
passed between the two men. 

Seizing McCuIlough by the arm, despite his pro- 
testations of injured innocence, she gently, but firmly, 
escorted him out of the ward. 

"VasI vasl— Now you go, M'sieu McCulloughl 
... out of ze ward right-away! . . . Vat you 
say — vat you do — I do not know, but you 'ave 
excite 'im 'orriblel ... Oh, pardonnez^moi, Doc- 
teur!" she ejaculated, as she bumped into that gentle- 
man in the corridor. 

"Hullo 1" said the latter inquiringly, as he reiiiai ■- d 
the little nurse's flushed, angry face. "What's up. 
Sister Marthe?" 

For answer, that irate lady pointed accusingly to 
McCuUough. That worthy, his questionable experi- 
ment accomplished, was retreating up the corridor as 
fast as his crutches could carry him. 

"First, Docteur," began the nurse indignantly, " 'e 
blow smoke in ze eye of ze parrot, then 'e turn roun' to 
paume M'sieu 'Ardy an' 'e sing — oh, I 'ave not ze 
English, but 'e blague 'im so — 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 309 

"Vkwi loldtii M mtunntl iamaial famaltl lamahl 
Vltu* soUali M KWiiml Iamaial — ib timfttrntnt faiatnH" 

"An' M'sieu 'Ardy 'e say: 'Vat about?' an then 'e raise 
'is two 'ands k Ciel — sol an' 'e tell Le Bon Dieu all 
about it. Oh, 'ow 'e prayl Ecoutetl Docteur! you 
can 'ear 'im now I . . ." 

And awhile Doctor Sampson listened, a grim smile 
lurking around the comers of his firm mouth, as he 
leaned against the open door of the ward. 

"Praying, Sister?" he ejaculated. "It's the queerest 
kind of praying I've ever heard. But is it him — or is 
it the parrot?" 

Two days later he remarked to the O.C. and Kil- 
bride: "I'm glad to be able to report a decided improve- 
ment in that man Hardy's condition. His pulse is 
stronger, his appetite is increasing and — he's be- 
ginning to grouse. That old ruffian of a farrier- 
corporal, McCullough, was right, begad! — he knew 
the man better than I did. As a general rule I'm in- 
clined to be rather sceptical of such drastic experi- 
ments, but in certain cases, er — " 

"Something of the sort might be beneficial if applied 
to young Redmond, too," remarked the O.C, testily. 
"He's down in the dumps now; though to give him his 



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310 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

due ... he tries hard not to show it whenever I 
happen to be in the hospital. Dudley, my Orderly- 
room sergeant, is leaving next month — time-expired 
— so I thought I was conferring a great favour on the 
boy by promising him the step-up — good staff appoint- 
ment — give him a chance to recuperate thoroughly. 
But no! — my young gentleman courteously declines 
my munificent offer. Nothing must serve him but 
he must go back to me Irish 'ginthleman' and that 

d d dissipated scamp of a Yorke." 

"It's the spirit of comradeship," remarked Kil- 
bride quietly. "If I might suggest. Sir, ... I think 
it would be better if you do decide to let him go back 
there. They pull well together and do good work, 
those three." 



'I 1 



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"'UUo, Reddy!" called out Constable Hardy, as 
he directed his wobbly steps towards the bench on the 
hospital balcony where George was seated, " 'ow long 
'ave you bin up 'ere? Th' O.C. an' Kilbride was 
round jes' now. You didn't see 'em, eh?" 

"No," answered Redmond listlessly. And thereupon 
he relapsed into moody silence. 

"W'y, wot's up?" enquired Hardy presently, scan- 



THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 311 

nlng the other's downcast rnuntenance. "Wet's th' 
matter wlv you, son? . . . you dop t Vok 'appy! . . ." 

"You bet I'm not, eAt:!" burst out George sud- 
denly. "The Old Man's . ►! ;.sJ .ne Dudley's job, but 
I don't want a staif job. I want to go back to Davids- 
burg. Who cares to be stuck around the Post?" 

"Me for one!" retorted the old soldier grinning. 
"Jes' now, anyway. Listen, son! Th' Old Man 'e sez 
to me: ' 'Ardy!' 'e sez, 'you've bin 'it pretty bad and I 
find you deserve a softer class of dewty than goin' back 
t' prisoner's escort. I think I'U recommend you for 
Provo'-Sorjint, in charge o' th' Guard-room, w'en you're 
able t' return t' dewty,' 'e sez." 

With an effort Redmond roused himself to the point 
of congratulating the Cockney upon his prospective 
promotion. He had no desire to act as a wet blanket 
on such an auspicious occasion as this, his own troubles 
notwithstanding. 

"That ain't all," continued Hardy, with a gloating 
chuckle. "Th' Old Man, 'e sez 'Belt's bein' invalided, 
McCullough's gettin' 'is third stripe, an' Dyvis is goin' 
dahn t' th' Corp'ril's Class at Regina, but that there 
young Redmond worries me! I don't know wot t' 
do abaht 'im,' 'e sez — jes' like that — sorter kind- 



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312 THE LUCK OF THE MOUNTED 

like — not a bit like th' O.C. o' a Division torkin' t' 
a buck private. 

" 'Beg yer pardon, Sir!' I sez, 'but if you let 'im go 
back t' Dyvidsburg I fink 'e'U be quite contented. 
Seems like 'e wants t' be wiv Sorjint Slavin an' Con- 
stable Yorke agin.' 

" 'Fink so?' sez 'e, pullin' 'is oweld moustache, 'I 
sure do, Sir,' I sez. 'So be it, then!' 'e sez, turnin' t' 
Kilbride, but th' Inspector 'e sez nothin' — 'e on'y 
larfs. An' then they went away." 

Redmond, giving vent to a delighted oath, came out 
of his sulks on the instant. 

"Hardy!" he cried, "you're a gentleman! . . ." 

"Nay!" was the other's disclaimer. "A dranken 
oweld soweljer-son . . . that's all." 

But Redmond heard him not. With elbows resting 
upon the balcony-rail he was looking beyond the Elbow 
Bridge, beyond Shagnappi Point — westwards to 
Davidsburg, his face registering the supreme content 
of a man who had just attained his heart's desire. 



THE END 



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